Following two disappointing seasons in Philadelphia as part of the ill-fated “Dream Team,” veteran cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha signed a one-year, $3 million contract on Tuesday with the NFC champion San Francisco 49ers.
Many around the league are considering this deal a bargain, given the price and the relatively low risk San Francisco takes on with a one-year contract. In addition, Philadelphia is also paying part of Asomugha’s salary for the 2013 season.
The 31-year-old Asomugha is far removed from his shutdown corner days, but can still be a force. It was widely believed that in Philadelphia’s zone defensive scheme, Asomugha played outside of his comfort zone–man-to-man coverage. Despite this, the Eagles continued to use Asomugha primarily in zone coverage. Conversely, San Francisco usually sticks to tough man-to-man press coverage with their cornerbacks.
This is also a homecoming of sorts for Asomugha, who was torn between playing in San Francisco or the New Orleans Saints. He played college football at Cal, and being closer to family and friends again may have been the deciding factor.
All the factors that brought the once elite cover man back to the Bay Area can only mean one thing—the 49ers clearly have their sights set on returning to the Super Bowl. With a multitude of picks in this April’s draft, a top-shelf defense and a quarterback ready to prove that last season was no fluke, they may very well get there again.
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