Niners land bargain in Nnamdi Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Typically, the biggest bargain NFL signings don't come until months after the start of free agency.

But with the veteran market having produced underwhelming contracts across the board for non-quarterbacks, the defending NFC champs have already landed perhaps the biggest steal of the offseason.

San Francisco has agreed to terms with former Eagles and Raiders corner Nnamdi Asomugha on a one-year deal worth a base value of $1.35M and maximum of $3M with no guarantees.

No guarantees - this, for a player who just two years ago was considered the prize of free agency and the best (or second best, to Darrelle Revis) cover corner in the league.

Granted, Asomugha's 2013 compensation already includes $4M to close out the guaranteed portion of the $25M paid him by the Eagles over two seasons, but still.

Has Asomugha's play fallen off that much? Was he simply miscast as a press-man corner in a zone coverage scheme? Is he not sociable enough to draw a bigger salary or role?

It could be that he's made his money (about $43M over his career), and he really only cares at this point about winning, as his agent suggests.

In fact, the next time Nnamdi is part of a team that fares better than .500 in a season will be the first time he experiences such mild success. Over his first seven seasons, the Raiders averaged 3.3 wins and never surpassed five victories, and Asomugha has been a part of eight sub-five-win teams in his ten years. In 2010 with Oakland, and in 2011 with Philly, he was on 8-8 squads, which is the most team success he's ever experienced in the NFL.

Perhaps this explains the bargain contract and lack of guarantees.

Meanwhile, the Broncos will pay Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Asomugha's partner in Philly, a guaranteed $5M salary in 2013. They had reportedly shown recent interest in Asomugha, but he likely would have served as a backup or as injury insurance behind Champ Bailey and DRC for the outside corner spots, with the nickel spot locked down by Chris Harris.

Broncos

John Elway says the team is fine going with Robert Ayers at open-side DE, which is a pretty clear message to Dwight Freeney and John Abraham that they'd best lower their asking prices.

Wes Welker still doesn't sound particularly thrilled with the way his departure from New England went.

Jeff Legwold milks the Flacco-to-Jones touchdown for more analysis by examining Ayers's role in the play.

Trindon Holliday says he's at least as fast as anyone else in the NFL.

Former Broncos WR Ashley Lelie will be a quality control coach at Nevada.

News

The wrongful death suits filed by the parents and children of the late Junior Seau have been merged with the class-action suit filed by many players over concussions.

Colts punter Pat McAfee signed his franchise tender, leaving Ryan Clady and Bills S Jairus Byrd as the only tagged players not to have done so. Chiefs T Branden Albert, who did sign his tender, suggests he's going to hold out until the team gives him a long-term deal.

Tampa Bay signed five players, including Chargers K Nate Kaeding, Rams WR Steve Smith, and Eagles DT Derek Landri, who had drawn interest from Denver in prior offseasons.

Buffalo added Seattle DT Alan BranchCleveland cut LB Chris Gocong and S Usama YoungJacksonville added Titans DT Sen'Derrick Marks and will audition Browns WR Mohamed Massaquoi; former Dolphins QB Pat White is expected to land with Shanny and Washington, who may also add CB Antoine WinfieldAtlanta signed the once wrongly imprisoned LB Brian Banks; the Giants will visit with WR Anthony ArmstrongChicago dumped DT Matt Toeaina.

Now 49 years old, former Packers QB Don Majkowski says he's suffering from significant physical maladies and post-concussive syndrome in retirement.

RIP former Patriots and CU Buffs coach Chuck Fairbanks, he of the Fairbanks-Bullough two-gapping 30 front.

Draft

Philly will work out WVU QB Geno Smith today; Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib will audition for ClevelandJacksonville, and Buffalo.

Doug Farrar evaluates Alabama RB Eddie Lacy and says the problem with Nolan Nawrocki's hacktastically disparaging report on Smith is that it gets too personal and psychological, isn't backed up by other evaluations, and comes without an explanation from Nawrocki.

Chase Stuart examines Smith through the prism of the quarterbacks previously produced by the Mike Leach/Dana Holgorson coaching tree.

According to FO, the Broncos have been one of the best drafting teams since 1970, which would make sense given the franchise's consistent success over that time span.

Analysis

Andy Benoit surveys the Bills roster, while Khaled Elsayed revisits the 2008-10 drafts of Buffalo and Carolina.

Vikings punter Chris Kluwe is just as puzzled as we are that people care about the sexual preferences of others, and he grates at the ridiculous notion that an openly gay player would distract a team from its business of winning football games.

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

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