Overvalued/Undervalued Niners

Yesterday, Mike Sando, ESPN NFC West blogger, came up with a list of overvalued and undervalued players in the division. Here are the players he had from the 49ers:

Overvalued: Nate Clements, Michael Lewis, and Brandon Jones.

Undervalued: None.

This is what he had to say about the overvalued players:

Nate Clements, 49ers cornerback. Clements appeared uncomfortable and off his game last season. An injury eventually landed him on injured reserve. The 49ers can stomach his $6 million salary if Clements returns to form, but the price otherwise appears quite steep.

Michael Lewis, 49ers safety. Three concussions last season raised serious questions about whether Lewis should continue playing and whether he can stay on the field. His salary is $4.1 million.

Brandon Jones, 49ers receiver. His $2.145 million salary isn’t particularly burdensome, but Jones became worth far less to the 49ers once the team drafted Michael Crabtree and, to a much lesser extent, added Ted Ginn Jr.

Although he did not have any players from the 49ers on his undervalued list, he mentioned the following:

The fine print: As noted, the 49ers have rewarded quite a few of their younger players. Others, including Vernon Davis, are earning good money this season. Manny Lawson, Josh Morgan and Dashon Goldson were considerations, but each had a chance to earn more money through escalators. The Rams’ Clifton Ryan was a consideration at $1.684 million.

When the 49ers brought in Nate Clements in 2007, they expected him to be a force in the secondary, giving him an eight-year, $80-million contract. At the time, it was the highest contract given to a defensive player. EVER. Clements has been unspectacular so far in San Francisco and needs to pick up his act. The secondary allowed the opposition to pass for an average of 229 yards last season, and that number needs to be brought down this coming season.

As Sando says, Jones’ salary is not necessarily hard to swallow, but he is definitely a whole lot more expandable now that the 49ers have improved their receiving corps.

Do you agree with the players Sando noted? Are there any players that he forgot to mention on either list? Leave some comments and let me know what you think. I, for one, expect Alex Smith to improve greatly this coming season, and with a salary of just under $6 million, we might come to realize that he is undervalued.

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