49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

July 14, 2011
Q&A: Quick resolution on Clements contract favors 49ers

@RichardWoodbury (Richard Woodbury) What are the odds Clements re-signs?

A: Well, he's not a free agent. He's signed for 2011, but at a salary that is unworkable for the team. So the question is whether he renegotiates a deal or is released. He said over the offseason that he'd like to be back. He lives here (South Bay), worked out at San Jose State this winter and spring and is well regarded in the locker room. I think there's a 68 percent chance he reworks his deal. However, the timing is interesting. The longer the two sides haggle, the fewer the number of starting-caliber cornerbacks on the free agent market. That is, the longer it takes the 49ers to renegotiate Clements' contract, the more his value goes up. A quick resolution favors the 49ers.


@RocSabre30 (Jason Lindsay) Since the 49ers are going into the season well below the salary floor why won't they match any offer for Franklin?

A: It's a very good question. The 49ers might have to spend money just to reach the salary floor. (We have to wait on exactly what that floor will be, but I'm guessing that "salary floor" is going to be a massive buzz word once free agency opens up). So why not spend it on players you know and trust and who allow your best defensive player, Patrick Willis, to make plays? One of the issues is Willis, who signed a contract extension last year. Would re-signing Franklin mean that Franklin is making more than Willis? And if so, would that cause problems? (My guess is that Willis would have no problem with that as long as the difference is within reason. But money issues inside the locker room can be tricky).

@lukaz303 (Lucas) in a Reg off-season a team with a new coach would get extra ota's, will there be anything similar for 49ers after new cba?

A: There certainly was talk of that in recent months. In fact, some of the players - Alex Smith and Joe Staley, in particularly - openly wondered whether they would get a head start on training camp. Time, however, is starting to run out. If these negotiations continue to drag, the league will be hard-pressed to start training camps on time.

@Trogd0g (Joe) is the talk about Dixon playing FB legit? I want to see him as a HB in Harbaugh's system, kid's got moves and size.

A: He certainly didn't practice at fullback in any of the player-run practices. Dixon's skills are decidedly tailback-like, and with Brian Westbrook very unlikely to return, Dixon will be needed at tailback. I think he might have been referring to scenarios when he is in the backfield with another tailback. He could technically be the fullback in that situation. But his main duties will be running with and catching the ball, not lead blocking.

@ElvinPritchard (Elvin Pritchard) If the Steelers put James Harrison on the market, would you think he's too much trouble for Baalke to kick the tires on?

A: No. I think the 49ers could use an a** kicker on defense, especially at outside linebacker. Might want to give him a personal PR assistant, though.

@jackap (Jack Aricept) If matt leinart was given a chance to be with the niners, do you think jim can turn him around too like he plans with smith?

A: It's an interesting scenario. (You guys leave no stones unturned). Leinart certainly is talented, and he has starting experience, which is what I think the 49ers want in any quarterback they pick up in free agent. I'd have to question, however, whether Leinart has the drive that Jim Harbaugh is seeking in a quarterback. Of course, playing against the Cardinals twice a year would be strong motivation.

@Englishman559 (Johnny Walker) How many receivers do you think the Niners will keep on the 53-man roster this season and who do you think they will be?

A: I don't know how big regular-season rosters will be. If it's more than 53 players, my guess is that six would be receivers: Crabtree, Morgan, Ginn, Williams, Jurovich and Johnson.

@RednGold1 (Charlie Krencicki) What will be length & $ amount of Alex Smith contract? Best guess.

A: One year for up to $5 million, perhaps with an option for a second year.

@slapstick49 (Edie Torres) Is travis laboy a FA and if so do u see the niners resigning him??

A: He is indeed. I'd put him in that 50-50 category. Here's what I wrote about him and other defensive free agents earlier this week.

@pKlingborg (Patrick Klingborg) what's your over/under on # of wins for the Niners this year? Go with your gut. No over analyzing.

A: Do I over analyze? I guess you could say I do. But then again, isn't that the nature of the sports writer? After all, it's ostensibly my expertise that you are seeking. On the other hand, sometimes a curt, instinctive answer is best. I cite the great Roman orator Cicero, who .... Seven.

@FO_DTuccitto (Danny Tuccitto) any educated guess on Harbaugh's training camp philosophy? work em to death or keep em fresh? ghost of nutcracker past?

A: He's a players' coach whose philosophy has evolved from his playing days of the 80s and 90s. (Unlike you know who). So I think it will be an intense camp, but not nearly as draining as the last two. (Doubt you'll see a player quit, much less two). And no nutcrackers.

@holodez (Mike Jones) How far back do you think the lockout has pushed the new stadium deal?

A: One year. The new opening date is 2015. One thing to keep an eye on once the new CBA is finalized is the size of the loan the league will put toward new stadia. It was $150 million in the previous plan.

@Gmr7028 (Galen Moran) It is possible that R. Smith and Mays will be the starting safteys next year. Should Niner fans be worried about that?

A: They have 13 starts ... combined. Clements and Spencer would be on the corners. Does that answer your question?

@BrendonCassidy (Brendon Cassidy) I bet Nnamdi Asomugha questions are better than Alex Smith questions, though...

A: Somebody send this man a Bee t-shirt.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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