Sources: Clements won't return under current deal

January 13, 2011, 5:23 pm
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Jan. 13, 2011MAIOCCO ARCHIVE49ERS PAGE 49ERS VIDEOMatt MaioccoCSNBayArea.comVeteran cornerback Nate Clements will be asked to accept a reduced salary in order to return to the 49ers in 2011, according to team and league sources familiar with his contract.Clements signed a free-agent deal with the 49ers on March 3, 2007, that had a reported value of eight years, 80 million. But the contract was backloaded with more than 50 million in non-guaranteed money scheduled to be earned in the final four years of the arrangement.
The 49ers want to retain Clements in 2011, but only at what it deems to be an acceptable salary, sources told Comcast SportsNet.RELATED: Nate Clements career statisticsClements, 31, a 10-year veteran, is scheduled to earn a non-guaranteed salary of 7.25 million in 2011 with another 7.95 million available in "likely-to-be-earned" incentives.The potential that Clements could receive more than 15 million in 2011 makes it a certainty he will not return to the 49ers at that price, sources said. The 49ers have 15 players on the team who are unsigned for next season. Clements, in essence, is the 16th.Clements told CSN during the final week of the season he expects to play for the 49ers in 2011."I signed a contract and I plan to live up to it," Clements said. "I'm not really worried about that. I'm confident in my ability. I understand that this is a business and change is made every year. So I'm not really worried about whether I'm here or not. But I signed a contract and I'm plan on being here."The 49ers are expected to approach Clements in the next six weeks to negotiate a new deal. If the sides are unable to reach an agreement, the 49ers would release Clements -- either before the collective bargaining agreement expires on March 3 or after the new CBA is agreed upon.RELATED: NFL leaders in interceptionsIf the 49ers release Clements, they would have no further financial obligations to him and he would become a free agent.Clements started all 16 games this past season and ranked third on the team, behind linebackers Patrick Willis and Takeo Spikes, with 82 tackles. He intercepted three passes and forced three fumbles. He has 10 interceptions with the 49ers in the four seasons since arriving as a free agent from the Buffalo Bills.The 49ers ranked 13th in the NFL in total defense in 2010, but were 24th against the pass. The opposition completed 65.1 percent of its pass attempts against the 49ers and compiled a combined 90.0 passer rating. The 49ers lost their first five games of the season and finished with a 6-10 record."Everybody had a part in basically underachieving this year, myself included," Clements said "I'm very disappointed."