Michael Lombardi, the NFL Network analyst who was a finalist for the 49ers' general manager position earlier this year, reports that the 49ers are "in it strong" when it comes to cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, the marquee player in free agency. Lombardi is a former Raiders executive who became good friends with 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh during his time there.
Lombardi reports that at this point the Jets and 49ers are the main competitors for Asomugha's services. The Texans also are expected to make a run. Asomugha, 30, has strong Bay Area ties, which could favor the 49ers. He was drafted by the Raiders in 2003 and played collegiately at Cal. He grew up in Southern California.
Landing Asomugha likely would mean the 49ers would cut ties with another cornerback, Nate Clements, whom the 49ers signed to a massive deal in 2007. Clements stands to count more than $17 million toward the salary cap, according to CSN Bay area, and releasing him ostensibly would create room to sign a big-name free agent like Asomugha.
-- Matt Barrows