COMMENTARY | The San Francisco 49ers were at it again on Tuesday, signing cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha to a one-year deal reportedly worth $1.35 million in base salary. The best part: Asomugha did not want any guaranteed money, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
The result for the 49ers is zero risk and a huge upside as the team heads into the 2013-14 NFL season with added depth to a cornerback group that will be out for something to prove next season, after a rather disappointing finish to the year in Super Bowl XLVII.
There are several possible reasons for the seemingly discounted price the 49ers signed Asomugha for on Tuesday. The 31-year-old is coming off a rather disappointing season in Philadelphia, where he totaled just four interceptions in two seasons for the Eagles (he had eight interceptions for the Raiders in 2006).
The Asomugha stock is down at the moment, and the 49ers seem like the right place to increase that stock back to where it was when he signed with the Eagles for five years and $60 million in 2011 -- $25 million of which was guaranteed.
Fast-forward two years and Asomugha signs a one-year deal with San Francisco with no guaranteed money, and a spot on the team that he will have to earn. The two-time Pro Bowler is playing to earn his next contract at the moment.
General manager Trent Baalke feels it does not matter what kind of reputation a player brings when he arrives in Santa Clara, he will have to earn his playing time, per Comcast SportsNet Bay Area's Matt Maiocco.
"That's never going to change," Baalke said about earning a role on the team. "We don't make promises. We don't make guarantees. We look at it like, 'We're bringing you in to compete.' You will earn that role on this team through competition. That's with every player."
Is Asomugha an upgrade at cornerback, though?
The main discussion earlier this offseason after the 49ers turned Alex Smith for a first round pick in 2013 was the supposed pursuit of Darrelle Revis -- a lock-down corner. Asomugha is not a lock-down corner anymore. He just gets paid like one.
The 49ers can throw Asomugha into a mix that includes Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown, two cornerbacks coming off disappointing seasons that will need to live up to their paychecks in 2013-14.
Asomugha brings depth to the 49ers secondary, and that is it. However, his decision to reportedly refuse guaranteed money is essential to this deal. He will still get paid $4 million by the Eagles this season, so money was no object in his decision to move west.
Reproving himself in the NFL is, though. And he will have a great opportunity in San Francisco to erase his image in Philadelphia and become a productive cornerback in the NFL once again.
Scott Semmler is a senior at San Jose State University fortunate enough to have covered nearly every Bay Area professional sports team, including the San Francisco Giants' 2012 World Series title. Follow him on Twitter@ScottSemmler22.
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