The San Francisco 49ers appear to have given Tarell Brown a bit of a late Christmas gift. Jason LaCanfora is reporting (and the NFLPA salary cap report confirms) that the 49ers gave Brown a $300,000 bonus on December 27. We don't know the specifics of how the 49ers did this, and we'll continue looking for specifics.
I spoke with Jason Hurley, and in our discussions, he brought up that it could be a basic roster bonus, where if he is on the roster on December 27, he gets it. The NFLPA salary cap report shows the 49ers losing somewhere on the order of $303,000 in cap space, so the transaction involved could involve a slight adjustment to his salary. We'll keep an eye out for more details.
In case you forgot, last offseason, Tarell Brown chose to miss much of the 49ers offseason workout program. Without knowing, that triggered a voiding of $2 million in base salary escalators. Brown's 2012 performance triggered an escalator that bumped his salary from $925,000 to $2.925 million. However, missing the workouts cost him that $2 million.
It turns out, Brown missed the workouts because he was not made aware of the workout program requirement. He subsequently fired his agent and hired Joel Segal. Brown hits free agency this offseason, and there have been various reports of contract negotiations, but nothing came to fruition.
What do we make of this bonus? I figure we can look at this one of two ways. The first is that the team wants Brown back, and this is one attempt to try and make somewhat good on the money he forfeited when he missed the workout program. The second is that the team wants to project an image to potential future free agents that even if the player or his agent messes something up, the team won't leave them hanging entirely high and dry.
I think the second one is probably applicable even if they also want to re-sign Brown. After all, there will be plenty more free agents to deal with down the road, long after Tarell Brown's 2014 contract status is determined. The team cannot afford to give opposing teams potential leverage in negotiations with free agents.
Whether it also means Tarell Brown is back with the 49ers, I don't know. Back in late July, Jim Harbaugh told the media the two sides needed to work together to figure out a solution over the $2 million. He didn't know the solution, but he felt there was a solution to be had. Of course, Jim Harbaugh often seems to portray the good cop when it comes to player contracts. He mentioned paying Josh Morgan and Dashon Goldson, and neither stuck around. Obviously there are salary cap ramifications to everything, so the team is not just going to go out and pay everybody what they want. We'll see how this ends up applying to Tarell Brown.
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