Clements was going to take a pay reduction in 2011 whether or not the 49ers kept him. By refusing to take one now, Clements ensured his entry into the free-agent market. The team told him of its plans to release him Thursday, ESPN's Adam Schefter notes.
Nate Clements signed an 8-year, $80 million deal with the 49ers in 2007.
Clements' contract with the 49ers was going to count $17 million against their salary cap. Teams can begin releasing players Thursday. They must do so by Friday to avoid paying workout bonuses in full. Clements' deal included a $500,000 workout bonus this year. Releasing Clements makes the 49ers responsible for only $100,000 of that total.
Clements' deal includes $42.5 million in salaries for the 2011-15 seasons. The 49ers will not have to pay that money after releasing Clements.
The 49ers knew this day was coming from the moment they signed Clements in free agency back in 2007. The deal was heavily back-loaded, but initial reports still focused on the potential $80 million total.
Note all the talk about money so far. This move was all about money and less about how Clements has played on the field. The 49ers would be better with Clements on their roster, just not at this price.
Free-agent cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha remains available. Multiple reports have had the 49ers competing with the New York Jets and Houston Texans for Asomugha's services. Money is almost always the deciding factor in these free-agent signings. I don't think the 49ers will pay to sign Asomugha at any price. Houston is ramping up efforts after finding ways to clear cap space, John McClain reports. There are other cornerback options for San Francisco, including Johnathan Joseph.
The 49ers' defensive coordinator, Vic Fangio, previously sought to build the Texans' defense around a pass-rusher (Jason Babin) and a cornerback (Dunta Robinson). Fangio's current team used the seventh overall choice for outside linebacker Aldon Smith, who reached agreement on a contract Thursday. Will the 49ers get a top-tier cornerback for him this offseason?
The signing period does not open until Friday. I see no reason for Asomugha to rush into a contract agreement. Why not let the bidding continue?