Prior to the lockout, the 49ers did not hold any discussions with veteran cornerback Nate Clements about restructuring the three non-voidable years of his 8-year, $80 million contract, Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee reports.
Clements’ base salary jumped from $3.516 million in 2009 to $6 million in 2010, and increases to $7.25 million in 2011. Clements also has a $500,000 workout bonus, which he has skipped in the past, opting instead to work out on his own during the off-season.
As noted by Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area, Clements has $7.95 million in “likely to be earned” incentives this season and is unlikely to return to the team on his current deal. That would be especially true if the NFL and NFLPA reach a new collective bargaining agreement that includes , as those “LTBE” incentives increase Clements’ salary cap number to $17.366 million for the upcoming season, the highest cap number among cornerbacks and fifth-highest number in the NFL, including Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning’s $23.12 million franchise tag.
Clements, who turns 32 in December, has 272 tackles, 2 quarterback sacks, and 10 interceptions with 40 passes defensed in his 54 games with the 49ers over the past four seasons.
While coaches could not contact players prior to the lockout, front offices could and did talk to agents about contracts. No talks have been permissible over the last 69 days, minus an all too brief window during the draft in late April. One possible reason why the 49ers didn’t broach restructuring Clements’ contract at that time may have something to do with the free agent status of nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin, who played 2010 under the franchise tag.
The 49ers have very little depth along the defensive line, and Franklin remains their best option at the nose. After failing to address the position in the draft, the 49ers are expected to make an attempt to re-sign Franklin when the lockout ends and free agency begins. With Haloti Ngata and Paul Soliai off the market via the franchise tag, Franklin will be the top nose tackle on the market, so re-signing him won’t come cheaply.
Franklin is represented by Atlanta-based player agent Todd France, who also represents Nate Clements.