Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

49ers bench "$80 million” cornerback Clements

The 49ers say they aren’t starting cornerback Nate Clements on Sunday because he doesn’t match up well with the Colts. Or at least the 49ers coaches believe that Tarrell Brown matches up with smaller receivers like Reggie Wayne better.

No matter how the 49ers want to spin it, it’s telling that the team’s high profile free agent signing from 2007 isn’t one of the best two cornerbacks on the team.

Shawntae Spencer has rebounded well after ACL surgery. Brown was signed to a long-term deal earlier this week. Clements is a solid cornerback that can tackle and he’ll wind up playing most snaps Sunday because the Colts usually go three wide. But Clements’ demotion is a reminder how phony splashy free agent deals can be.

Clements’ contract was essentially a seven-year, $64 million that had a fake final season tacked on to make it 8 years for $80 million. That way, Clements and his agent could say he was the highest paid defensive player in NFL history. Now there are questions whether he’ll make it to year four of the year contract.

Clements is due $6 million next season and he’s not worth that money unless he plays every snap.