Nnamdi Asomugha's stint with the Philadelphia Eagles definitely didn't go as planned, but he's ready to make a splash with his new team.
Asomugha and the Eagles struggled in 2011 and 2012, as Asomugha failed to live up to his five-year, $60 million contract. Asomugha was cut just two years into his deal, and the 49ers scooped him up at a cheap price (Asomugha's base salary for 2013 is $1 million).
San Francisco has depth at cornerback, as it already has Tarell Brown, Chris Culliver and Carlos Rogers. However, Rogers was a liability in 2012, Culliver wasn't extremely successful in the playoffs and Brown isn't exactly a star.
In Oakland, Asomugha was a star. He was rarely thrown at by opposing quarterbacks, as they targeted him 98 times over his last three years in Oakland. That's about two targets per game.
If Asomugha could do that, it would make everyone's job easier. It may seem like a stretch to say that someone who failed to meet expectations in Philadelphia can come in and completely shatter expectations in San Francisco, but it's possible.
Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio employs a lot of Cover 2 looks, and that could benefit Asomugha. Asomugha is best when he can line up close to wide receivers and use his 210-pound frame to bump wide receivers at the line of scrimmage, and he can do that in San Francisco.
James Dudko of International Business Times noted that the 49ers employ a lot of Cover 2 looks,and that works fairly well for Asomugha. Dudko noted that Asomugha thrives when he is able to pin his receiver to the sideline, and he can do that to prevent wideouts from getting over the middle on intermediate routes.
Asomugha may have struggled in Philadelphia, but a change of scenery may be exactly what he needs. The physical tools are there, as he is 6'2" and has a 4.45 40-yard dash to his credit. He isn't the fastest corner on the planet, but he'll benefit from safety help.
In addition, Asomugha has always played for a losing team, and the 49ers aren't a losing team. He didn't have much time to prepare and adjust to a different scheme with the Eagles, as he signed after the lengthy 2011 NFL lockout.
Playing in a good environment should allow Asomugha to rekindle his dominance. Asomugha, who defensed 12 passes in 2012, is poised to step up and take on top-flight wideouts, which is something the 49ers secondary failed to do last season.
Asomugha isn't expected to transform the secondary, but he could. Asomugha is a top-tier corner, and the 49ers got an absolute steal when they locked him up.
Don't be surprised if Asomugha brings back memories of his Oakland dominance, and don't be surprised if he commands more money when he becomes a free agent next offseason.