The 49ers have struck a deal with veteran cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, a league source confirmed this afternoon. Asomugha, who played at Cal and had his best NFL seasons while with the Raiders, returns to the Bay Area on a one-year deal.
He will have the most recognizable name of any of the 49ers' cornerbacks in 2013. However, his spot on the roster, and certainly the starting lineup, is not guaranteed. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the one-year deal is worth $1.35 million in base salary with no guaranteed money. The deal is worth as much as $3 million if Asomugha meets specific incentives. The 49ers had a little more than $3 million in salary-cap space before Asomugha's signing.
Asomugha will compete with established players like Carlos Rogers, Tarell Brown and Chris Culliver for playing time. Backups Perrish Cox and Tramaine Brock, a restricted free agent, also will figure into the mix, and the team could add another cornerback in the draft.
The 49ers had shown interest in big-bodied cornerbacks since the start of free agency and Asomugha, 31, has a long frame, long arms and a reputation as one of the better press cornerbacks in the league. After signing a huge, five-year contract with the Eagles in 2011, Asomugha's play slipped and Philadelphia released him this year.
Asomugha visited the 49ers more than two weeks ago. He paid a subsequent visit to the Saints and had been deliberating between the two destinations.
His good friend, Akbar Gbaja-Biamili, said in a recent interview with The Bee that the 49ers were an attractive destination because they promise to be winning club again and because Asomugha felt comfortable with Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh was an assistant with the Raiders in 2003 when Oakland drafted Asomugha and Gbaja-Biamila.
"I know one thing is true - (Harbaugh) can connect to players," said Gbaja-Biamila, who now works for the NFL Network. "Not every player may like his style, but I think you respect the fact that he's a former player and he gets it. He's not one of those guys who will have one of those coaching egos, saying, 'This is my way.' Players fit like puzzles, and I think he would know how to use Nnamdi like a puzzle piece, just to be the perfect fit. ... I think Nnamdi was just out of place in Philly."