The San Francisco 49ers have picked up an additional $2 million of salary cap space as a result of one of their players opting to not participate in the team's voluntary offseason workout program.
Cornerback Tarell Brown had triggered a $2 million escalator to his 2013 base salary and was scheduled to earn $2.925 million in the final year of his contract. However, since Brown opted to do his offseason training at his home in Texas, instead of participating in the 49ers' workout program in Santa Clara, Calif., that escalator has voided and his base salary has returned to his original $925,000, a source with knowledge of Brown's contract details confirmed to "Shutdown Corner". Brown was also scheduled to receive a $75,000 workout bonus, but that has vanished, as well.
Brown said he learned about his $2 million loss on Twitter. Not surprisingly, he fired his agent.
How did Tarell Brown find out he’d forfeited $2 million in base salary: “Twitter,” he said. #49ers
— Eric Branch (@Eric_Branch) July 26, 2013
As of Wednesday, July 24, the 49ers were $7.4 million under their adjusted cap number of $125.773 million.
Brown, a 2007 fifth-round pick out of the University of Texas, had signed a three-year contract extension with the 49ers midway through the 2009 season. Brown has emerged as a starter over the last 32 regular season games, totaling 97 tackles, six interceptions and 29 passes defensed while playing in 98.3 percent of the 49ers' 2,074 defensive snaps. Brown also has a pair of interceptions in five playoff games over the last two seasons.
Though Brown skipped the voluntary portion of the workout program, he did participate in the 49ers' mandatory minicamp in June. Prior to those workouts, Brown explained to Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group that he was going to leave it up to his agent on whether or not to hold out of training camp to get a new contract and gave his reason for skipping the voluntary OTAs.
"For me, I wanted to do a different type of training to get my body ready," Brown said. "Last year, I feel my body broke down a bit at the end of the season."
With Brown losing that $2 million in salary, his contract might be an issue during training camp. Brown is not the only 49ers defensive back who has a contract issue, either.
Fellow starting cornerback Carlos Rogers, who turned 32 in early July, is scheduled to earn $5.75 million in cash compensation ($5.5 million base salary, $1.75 million of which is fully guaranteed, plus $250,000 in roster bonuses) and could be relegated to a nickel corner role if free agent addition Nnamdi Asomugha (or Perrish Cox) beats him out for a starting job. Last week, the 49ers acquired cornerback Eric Wright from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but failed Wright on his physical as reports surfaced about a DUI arrest in Los Angeles on July 12. In the back-end of the secondary, safety Donte Whitner is entering the final year of his contract and this week has openly wondered about his future with the 49ers.
With the Seattle Seahawks adding Percy Harvin to a create a deep receiving corps, the St. Louis Rams adding Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey and tight end Jared Cook to bolster their passing attack, and the Arizona Cardinals acquiring quarterback Carson Palmer, NFC West opponents appear poised to attack the defending division champs through the air. With Rogers, Brown and Whitner — 75 percent of the 49ers' projected secondary — concerned about their futures with the team, that might be a successful strategy.