Nnamdi Asomugha Presents San Francisco 49ers with Low-Risk Investment

By Travis Chan
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Since getting released by the Philadelphia Eagles, cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha has visited the San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints.

If the four-time All Pro chooses to sign with the 49ers, he’d present the team with a low-risk, high-upside investment. Despite having two disastrous seasons with the Eagles, it’s hard to imagine that his production would just fall off at the drop of a hat.

During his time with the Oakland Raiders, Asomugha was right up there with Darrelle Revis when it came to listing the top players at the position. In Oakland, defensive coordinators Rob Ryan and John Marshall played Asomugha in man coverage, which utilized his strengths to its fullest. Using his length and athleticism, opposing wideouts were routinely held in check. But in Philadelphia, Asomugha played a lot of zone. He was apparently uncomfortable in that system as he was beat time and time again.

However, should he receive a fresh start with Jim Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, we could be seeing the Asomugha of old. The 49ers defense relies on their corners to play aggressive man coverage, which fits right into Asomugha’s skill set.

Fangio knows how to get the most out of his defensive players individually while having them play cohesively as a unit. For instance, Carlos Rogers was let go by the Washington Redskins following the 2010-11 season and churned out a banner campaign under Fangio. Rogers led the 49ers with six interceptions while making his first Pro Bowl. Asomugha would be another reclamation project that may very well put the 49ers over the top.

Playing under a short-term deal should provide him with enough incentive to play well. In addition, the California product will be surrounded by a star supporting cast. Going back to the Bay, Asomugha won’t feel the pressure of having to be “the guy.” Everything is lining up for him to recapture his elite playmaker status should he join the Red and Gold.

However, a major obstacle holding Asomugha back is his questioned passion for the game. Were his down years due to a deterioration of his physical abilities or did he simply lack focus? If general manager Trent Baalke does not feel that he has the desire to be a contributor, then Asomugha is not worth the investment. But if the front office senses that he is serious about re-establishing his career, Baalke must hope that the 10-year pro chooses San Francisco as his next destination.

Asomugha suiting up in a 49ers uniform could present both parties with a potential win-win situation.

You can follow Travis on Twitter @TravisChan1

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