Following two subpar seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, four-time All-Pro cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha is optimistic that he can be rejuvenated by a return to the Bay Area.
Asomugha, 31, agreed to terms on a one-year deal on Wednesday with the 49ers. The former Cal defensive back made three Pro Bowls and earned team MVP honors twice in his eight seasons with the Raiders. Asomugha's one-year deal will pay him a maximum of $3 million for the 2013 season.
“My mindset is to come in, compete and be the best I can possibly be,” Asomugha said. “I've had a chip on my shoulder every year that I've played. I think it's bigger this year.”
Asomugha could benefit from playing behind a stout front seven and experienced secondary. With Wednesday's signing, the 49ers' defense now has seven players with Pro Bowl experience. Asomugha joins cornerback Carlos Rogers and safety Donte Whitner, a pair of veteran defensive backs who have each been selected to one Pro Bowl. Linebacker Patrick Willis and defensive lineman Justin Smith have combined for 10 Pro Bowls, while defensive end Aldon Smith and linebacker NaVorro Bowman have received one Pro Bowl selection each.
The 49ers have ranked in the top 5 in pass defense in each of the last two seasons. Last season, the Eagles ranked 22nd in the league in sacks per pass attempt.
"I was excited about what [the 49ers] do with their front seven and how much pressure they get without really blitzing,” Asomugha said. “When you have that type of talent it helps out any back end. It's something I'm real excited about."
In 2010, opposing quarterbacks had a rating of 66.0 when targeting Asomugha according to Pro Football Focus. On passes in Asomugha's direction, opposing wide receivers finished with a catch percentage of 44.8. Last season, opposing quarterbacks finished with a rating of 120.6 on passes thrown toward the former Eagles' defensive back. Of the 39 cornerbacks in the league that appeared in at least 75 percent of their defensive snaps, Asomugha ranked the lowest in the category, according to Pro Football Focus.
The signing is a low-risk move for the 49ers. Asomugha reportedly insisted that he didn't want any part of his contract to be guaranteed, according to ESPN.
“We are very pleased to add Nnamdi to our defense,” 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said. “Throughout his career, Nnamdi has accomplished a great deal on the field and in the community. We look forward to his contributions to our team."
Keep your eye on everything NFL by following Matt Rybaltowski on Twitter @mattrybaltowski.