In the pass-first NFL, defensive backs would seem to be in major demand. But the some of the best cornerbacks and safeties in the game remain without a home.
Now a report has surfaced that the defending NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers are in “serious discussions” with Nnamdi Asoumugha and Charles Woodson, according to ProFootballTalk.com.
The site was hesitant to pull the trigger on the story since the report came from former NFL player and current NFL Network analyst Akbar Gbaja-Biamila’s Twitter feed, citing the thin line between studio analyst and reporter, especially with an ex-player involved.
Woodson and Asomugha highlight a number of available defensive backs, with Aqib Talib and Louis Delmas also in the market for a huge deal.
San Francisco and head coach Jim Harbaugh are coming off a tight Super Bowl loss to the Baltimore Ravens, with quarterback Joe Flacco throwing for 287 yards and three touchdowns, including a 56-yard bomb to receiver Jacoby Jones.
The 49ers had the fourth-ranked pass defense in the league last year, but adding both Asomugha and Woodson could only bolster their standing as one of the league’s premier defenses.
After seven seasons, Woodson was let go by the Green Bay Packers due to his expected $6.5 million salary for 2013 and $9.4 million cap hit. Over 15 years, Woodson is second amongst active players with 55 career interceptions.
Under the new Chip Kelly regime, the Philadelphia Eagles were hoping to restructure Asomugha’s contract, as he was scheduled to make upwards of $15 million next season, but released him.
The three-time Pro Bowler signed a five-year $60 million deal with the Eagles in 2011, but fell short of expectations. In two seasons in Philadelphia, Asomugha generated four interceptions and 16 passes defended.
Both Woodson and Asomugha were a part of the Oakland Raiders secondary from 2003 to 2005.
San Francisco already said goodbye to safety Dashon Goldson, who signed a five-year $41.25 million contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Three days into free agency, and that has been the most lucrative deal signed by a defensive back.
The 49ers are now $6.4 million under the $123 million cap for next season, so Woodson and Asomugha would have to take a pay cut if they hope to play together again.
The 49er are also in play for Baltimore safety Ed Reed, but the Houston Texans appear to be doing everything in their power to sign him.