On Tuesday afternoon, the San Francisco 49ers signed free agent cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha to a one-year deal worth $1.35 million, a staggeringly team-friendly deal on a player who was the most coveted free agent in football just two years ago. Niners Nation is on the case, and reminds us that Asomugha still has $4 million guaranteed coming his way from the Eagles in 2013, so signing a cheap deal isn't as big a deal for him. Still, it appears to be a remarkable deal for San Francisco to potentially upgrade their secondary.
On the same day that the Niners made this signing, the Packers made official their third free agent signing of the year, and the first player signed from outside the organization. Loyce Means, the former Bills camp tryout and Canadian Football League cornerback, is now a Packer.
As many have noted around Twitter in the past few hours, this illustrates the difference between the Packers' organizational plan and the plans of other teams, namely the 49ers. As we all know, Ted Thompson prefers to build through the draft, bring in street free agents with certain skills, and trust his coaching staff to develop young players into useful assets for the team. This is a low-risk, high-reward strategy, and works wonders when a player like Tramon Williams becomes a Pro Bowl-caliber player.
Compare this to the strategy employed by the 49ers and other teams, by which they bring in established players and rely on the coaching staff to put their skills to use and make them mesh with the team. The reward is just as great, but the risk is substantially higher, especially when there is guaranteed money on the table. With the Asomugha contract, that's not the case, so the risk is mitigated. But it still is an interesting dichotomy seeing these two signings happen almost simultaneously.