The two primary teams rumored to be leading the Nnamdi Asomugha charge are the Jets and Texans. The fit for the Texans is pretty simple to compute: they had a putrid secondary last year, and gave up an average of 267.5 yards per game in the air. Meanwhile, the Jets are determined to pair Asomugha with Darrelle Revis, and form the Optimus Prime (or perhaps more accurately, Joe from Family Guy) of secondaries.
But the lurking dark horse has been the 49ers, a team that’s also weak against the pass and ranked 24th last year. In what could be a push to clear the cap real estate for Asomugha, San Fransisco has informed cornerback Nate Clements that he’ll be released.
The 49ers entered free agency roughly $18.9 million under the cap, and Clements’ impending departure clears another $15.7 million. While also reporting that the Texans are currently the front runners for Asomugha’s services, NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi pegs his likely contract value at $12-14 million annually.
Clements now finds himself on the open market because he was unable to reach an agreement on a paycut. Lomdardi’s educated guess at a yearly figure indicates that the 49ers are essentially attempting to swap Clements with Asomugha, with their new recruit coming in at a similar cap number. Clements is an effective corner who has 33 interceptions over 10 seasons, but isn’t on the same shutdown, don’t-ever-throw-his-way level of Asomugha.
As ESPN’s Mike Sando noted, this move was almost purely about money, and isn’t a reflection of Clements’ play. San Fransisco even planned for this outcome the moment Clements was signed, back-loading the money in his contract.