In the least surprising news since really ever, Matt Maiocco reported that sources indicate the 49ers will ask Nate Clements to accept a reduced salary in 2011 if he wants to return to the 49ers. If anybody didn't see this coming, you may have been too engrossed with Jim Harbaugh Watch 2011. The reports indicate the 49ers will speak with him at some point in the next six weeks to get something worked out. For those wondering why six weeks, that will take us to the beginning of March when a lockout could potentially begin.
According to Maiocco, Clements contract calls for a $7.25 million salary and $7.95 million in likely-to-be-earned incentives. What's kind of funny is that Nnamdi Asomugha's contract included some of those kinds of incentives but he didn't meet them in 2010 and so the contract was voided per the language of the deal. Of course, teams don't throw at Nnamdi so it was harder to hit the interception, sack, fumble incentive, and his brief two week absence with an injury missed the playing time incentive. Clements would be much more likely to hit those incentives.
The question becomes what will happen with Clements. In the closing week of the season he stated (per Maiocco) that:
"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."
Maiocco prefaced this comment by saying "Clements told CSN during the final week of the season he expects to play for the 49ers in 2011." I'd argue that comment doesn't necessarily line up with Clements comments. He'll be here based on his contract, but that deal is about to be torn up. I'd imagine at some point we'll hear a bit more Given his struggles at times one has to wonder how much he could get on the open market. No numbers have been mentioned so we can only speculate so much.