On Wednesday, March 6, news broke that the Philadelphia Eagles would release cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, via Howard Eskin. Then there was a contradicting report that Asomugha would not be released yet, but it could happen:
Word has filtered around the league that Nnamdi will be cut eventually, but it hasn't come from the team. And their plan isn't do it today.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 6, 2013
The All-Pro defensive back spent two seasons with the Eagles, after signing a lucrative five-year, $60 million deal in 2011. The thought was that he, along with Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie, would shore up the secondary issues. Unfortunately, there was a lack of cohesion, which caused this unit to falter consistently.
When targeted in 2012, Asomugha allowed a quarterback rating of 120.6, according to Pro Football Focus. For a player with a deal as substantial as the one he signed, this is unacceptable. The Eagles will likely look to restructure or drop him from their roster.
Asomugha would be added to a list of a high-profile veterans that were overvalued and underperformed this past year. With a flat salary cap, names like John Abraham, Charles Woodson, Dunta Robinson, Bart Scott and Cullen Jenkins have all been given their outright release.
However, Asomugha would lead a group of once-dynamic players that still have something to offer.
And because of their offseason flexibility, the San Francisco 49ers have been connected to a number of players, including Cullen Jenkins, Darrelle Revis and Percy Harvin. These players correlate with the team's needs this offseason, being pass rush, secondary help and another dynamic pass-catcher.
The rumors have been especially heavy around Revis, who is also an All-Pro corner that could be in for a change of scenery in 2013. However, Revis is coming off an ACL injury, has lucrative salary demands and would necessitate high draft picks.
Not so fast on 49ers' and #Jets CB Darrelle Revis. High-ranking team source says 49ers' interest is ".001 on a scale of 1-10."— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) March 6, 2013
If and when Asomugha is released, the 49ers may find him to be a more reasonable solution to upgrading their secondary. He would be a healthy unrestricted free agent, which would alleviate some of San Francisco's concerns, like parting with draft picks for a player recovering from major surgery.
For those that don't recall, the 49ers had their eye on Asomugha once before. When he became a free agent in 2011, the Niners were one of the teams reported to be an interested suitor for his services. Unfortunately, Asomugha bought into "the dream team" pitch Andy Reid was selling and took the money to play for Philadelphia.
This forced San Francisco to sign Carlos Rogers.
If Asomugha is given his walking papers, he will have a second chance to evaluate what is important to him: money or winning?
At age 31, and coming off a ghastly two-year run with the Eagles, Asomugha should not demand near the salary he once did. However, he might be a valuable veteran player that could reignite his career with Ed Donatell and Vic Fangio. This could be a great pickup for the 49ers if they choose to explore it.
Going forward, this will be viewed as a cost-effective alternative to bringing in Darrelle Revis.