Cornerback Nate Clements, who has been one of 15 or so 49ers working out at an off-site location this spring, said he has not yet had any discussions with the team about restructuring his contract for the 2011 season.
In 2007 Clements was one of the top free agents on the market, and the 49ers signed him to a blockbuster eight-year, $80 million contract. That deal, however, was back-loaded with non-guaranteed money in the last four years.
A big chunk of that money is due to come into play this year. He is scheduled to earn $7.25 million in base salary. In addition, CSN Bay Area reported that he could earn another $7.95 million in likely-to-be-earned incentives.
All of which points to the 49ers either reworking a deal with Clements or releasing him before the season. When I asked general manager Trent Baalke last week whether Clements would be on the team in 2011, he said: "I don't know. You'd have to ask Nate. Honestly, I couldn't tell you right now."
The 49ers took two cornerbacks in the draft, but neither is positioned to be a starter this year. Third-round pick Chris Culliver only switched from safety last year and is still learning the position. Curtis Holcomb was a seventh-round pick who will battle other late rounders and undrafted free agents like Phillip Adams and Tramaine Brock for a spot on the team.
I asked Clements whether he thought his bargaining position was strengthened by the fact that the 49ers didn't take a cornerback early in the draft. Said Clements: "Even if they had gotten a cornerback high, I wouldn't be worried. You can't do anything until the lockout's over."
-- Matt Barrows