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Harbaugh says team didn’t know about Tarell Brown workout clause


49ers cornerback Tarell Brown opted not to participate in the team’s voluntary offseason program.  He didn’t know that his decision resulted in the loss of $2 million in 2013 base salary.

According to Matt Maiocco of, coach Jim Harbaugh said Sunday that the team didn’t know, either, until after Brown’s ability to preserve the $2 million had been lost.

As one league source told PFT before Harbaugh made his remarks, 49ers COO Paraag Marathe surely knows the details of every player contract.  While it’s possible that the numbers guys didn’t give the football guys a chance to advise Brown that he was about to give the team $2 million in cash and cap space, any suggestion that no one with the Niners knew the nuances of the contract the team negotiated and signed arguably makes the team look worse than if they’d known about it and secretly hoped Brown would fail to show.

Per Maiocco, Harbaugh also said that he hopes the team and the player can resolve the situation in a way that will allow everyone to eventually laugh about it.

Other than letting Brown laugh all the way to the bank with his $2 million, there’s nothing the 49ers can really do.  With Brown entering the final year of his contract, an extension could be used to funnel the lost money to Brown, but it would be hard to distinguish between payment for the lost salary and compensation for his future value to the team.

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47 Responses to “Harbaugh says team didn’t know about Tarell Brown workout clause”
  1. helloanybodyhome says: Jul 28, 2013 3:05 PM

    Maybe the player didn’t know, but by withholding 2 mil the team most certainly knew.

  2. webehighrollin says: Jul 28, 2013 3:06 PM

    Pope Harbaugh never lies. His word is above everyone else’s around the league. Sorry about that.

  3. cardmagnet says: Jul 28, 2013 3:07 PM

    Why should we feel bad for a guy making 40 time the average household income who thought part of his job was just too much of an inconvenience and also abandoned his team?

  4. Iknoweverything says: Jul 28, 2013 3:07 PM

    i think its pretty safe to say that you cant believe ANYTHING that two-faced Harbaugh says

  5. jfd349 says: Jul 28, 2013 3:07 PM

    At the end of the day, it’s the player that has to know his contract and its terms and conditions.

  6. logicailvoicesays says: Jul 28, 2013 3:08 PM

    Stuff like this never happens to the Redskins. The Redskins are the best and classiest franchise in NFL history. Redskin players are the most talented in the league, smartest in the league and classiest. There are the Redskins and then there are loser franchises like the 49ers. #RedskinswinSuperBowlswhile49erswatchonTV

  7. sg419 says: Jul 28, 2013 3:08 PM

    Why is it the responsibility of the team?
    If the player didn’t know that is his fault. I hope he got a new agent, that’s the one that really screwed him.

  8. thestrategyexpert says: Jul 28, 2013 3:09 PM

    At least give him a gift card for NFL merchandise. Then he can buy a hat of his favorite team.

  9. whyrunbackwardsyoullvomit says: Jul 28, 2013 3:10 PM

    Isn’t this more on brown’s agent? Why should the organization advise a player that he’s going to miss a bonus?

  10. patriots123456 says: Jul 28, 2013 3:15 PM

    Where is the agent in all of this?

    Surely the agent negotiated the contract, he should have advised the player.

    Last, if I was making millions and a contract was involved, I would definetly read the contract.

  11. fissels says: Jul 28, 2013 3:17 PM

    Ya gotta read your own contract. Can’t blame someone else.

  12. germanstingray says: Jul 28, 2013 3:20 PM

    If you’re an adult who is too stupid to know the details of a contract you signed, too bad for you.

  13. wilsonwillbreaku says: Jul 28, 2013 3:21 PM

    Niners knew about it and you can take that to the bank…just like they did with Brown’s 2 mil.

  14. riverhorsey says: Jul 28, 2013 3:22 PM

    Doesn’t the agent have the responsibility to tell the player he loses 2 mil if he misses workouts?

    The agent should fire himself.

  15. folkcrusader says: Jul 28, 2013 3:25 PM

    Oh please, that may be the stupidest thing the man has ever said. The organization knew what was happening. The problem is they are just now realizing that $2 million bucks may cost them one of their better players. No doubt plenty of other teams are interested in the possibility of signing Brown next season. Not to mention what the rest of the team’s players think about the possibility of the team stealing money from them.

    Ripping Brown off is either worth it or not coach, you can’t have it both ways.

  16. sarcasm says: Jul 28, 2013 3:26 PM

    It’s on the player, but they could simply pay it. I’m not sure why they would in this case.

    It’s not like he was 50 yards shy of a rushing bonus and the coaches yanked him out of the game.

  17. snccoach says: Jul 28, 2013 3:31 PM

    So a player signs a contract, claims he didn’t know and is not held to the terms of the contract? So much for personal responsibility.

  18. harrisonhits2 says: Jul 28, 2013 3:32 PM

    Harbaugh just made himself look like an a$$ with these comments. The head coach of an nfl team should make it a point to know important contract details of every player.

    And while he certainly can’t keep all those details in mind, he could also certainly have reminders pop up on his computer or iPad that would say – remind player x that if he doesn’t come to offseason workouts he loses 2 million.

    Or even easier, the head coach certainly has an administrative assistant who could be responsible for such reminders.

  19. sikoix says: Jul 28, 2013 3:34 PM

    This is like being a salaried employee, taking a random Wednesday off, and then getting upset because you didn’t realize they’d dock your pay for that. Except this is worse because they had a specific contract and this guy would have known if he read it. I don’t see what action anyone would be expecting here to “correct the situation”, unfortunately.

  20. thestillcity says: Jul 28, 2013 3:44 PM

    The coach needs to be in the player’s corner, even when the front office isn’t. This is the right move and hopefully an extension gets worked out in good faith. Brown has been a really solid contributor the past couple of seasons, and I don’t see any way he shouldn’t be at least a nickel corner for the next three seasons.

    Throw him a contract a few weeks into the season.

  21. ninerswilldominatelikebefore says: Jul 28, 2013 3:46 PM

    typical modern society, blaming everybody but the end of the day its browns contract HIS rsponsibility!! he signed it, he deals with the consequenses, harbaugh has how many players this offseason? 90. If the player who signed the contract didnt play attention why should harbaugh he has the TEAM to look after and his own life!!

  22. eatlessveggies says: Jul 28, 2013 3:46 PM

    The player is the only one at fault here. He should know what’s in his contract. To add, if he would have just shown up to work this would be a non-issue.

  23. blackstrat says: Jul 28, 2013 3:47 PM

    Harbaugh’s next job will be as a politician.
    He lies with no twinge of conscience just like a politician.
    When we (most of us with a brain) know he is lying, he looks the cameras dead on and deadpans his spinning lying ways.

    He is a good coach though.

  24. getyourownname says: Jul 28, 2013 3:48 PM

    It would be interesting to know whether the team asked him to come to the optional workouts, and/or why he didn’t show up.

    It the people responsible for organizing the workouts really were not aware of the clause, and he thought he was not obligated to come, then it seems more like a mutual innocent mistake, and both parties could accept some responsibility for a situation that did not seem to result in any actual harm, with the team paying him at least a portion of the amount.

  25. 9ereddie says: Jul 28, 2013 3:57 PM

    Anyone who has posted negative comments here is no longer allowed to play.

  26. jazzmaninhouston says: Jul 28, 2013 3:59 PM

    Are you suggesting that the player didn’t know about the details of his contract? The team has upwards of 90 contracts in it’s hands, and the player has ONE. Knowing what his job includes, what he gets paid for, what he doesn’t get paid for and the time frames he’s required to report in order to be paid is HIS responsibility.

    I know when I’m expected to be at work, I know how long any duration of time off is (i.e. weekends, holiday, vacation, etc). Is anyone really to blame other than the person expecting their paycheck?

    Perhaps a note from his mommy explaining that the dog ate his contract will do. When will these alleged adults grow up and take responsibility for their own actions, or lack there of?

  27. herkulease says: Jul 28, 2013 4:08 PM

    Of course someone in the Niners organization knows. They had to plan for it as if Brown showed up that’s 2 million less they have it cap space. However, I highly doubt the head coach of any team knows the full details and every nuance of a players contract.

    The blame is on Brown’s then agent. From Brown’s comments back in June it suggests that they were trying to use that additional 2 million cap hit on the Niners as leverage to get a new deal done.

    Brown was mum and left it up to his agent as to whether to hold out training camp to get a new deal.

    I’m sure the Niners will try to work something out. Maybe they give him some bonus for getting a certain number of interceptions.

  28. fdugrad says: Jul 28, 2013 4:31 PM

    I realize these under-educated primas have agents to negotiate , monitor and keep track of certain things and areas of their lives, however the player is in charge and the agent is the employee. Exactly what employer knows SO little about his career responsibilities that he is ignorant of a TWO MILLION DOLLAR business opportunity/responsibility?!

  29. jetsjetsjetsnow says: Jul 28, 2013 4:40 PM

    I have zero sympathy on this one!! How can you not know what your contract says when it comes to millions!!! Kinda like the dog ate my homework level of excuse. What a knumbskull!

  30. dirtysouthniner says: Jul 28, 2013 4:44 PM

    Man there’s no LOGIC in that voice. .. why would Harbaugh know of a clause in a contract.. Love him or hate him he’s a players coach, he wouldn’t “steal” a players money. Brown is our best cb, doesn’t mean we want to resign him. Cb is our first rounder next year imho.

  31. psychoraider904 says: Jul 28, 2013 4:49 PM

    Maybe I can miss a week of work, and then piss and moan about not getting a paycheck at the end of the week. This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Show up to work and there’s no problem.

  32. guido63 says: Jul 28, 2013 5:07 PM

    The one whose is to blame is Tarell Brown. He signed the contract. If he did not know the rules of the contract it is his fault. To blame others is ridiculous.

  33. jayniner says: Jul 28, 2013 5:49 PM

    So between Brown, his agent and his attorney(whom he pays a lot of money to), none of them knew about this clause?

  34. jikkle49 says: Jul 28, 2013 6:13 PM

    The blame is primarily on the agent because it’s his job to make sure his client fully understands the ins and outs of his contract and what it all means. That’s exactly why you have and pay for an agent.

    Brown has some blame as well as he should place a phone call to his agent after the season and go “Hey what do I need to do this upcoming season to make sure I get everything in my contract”

    As far as I know with the 9ers organization at the very least as the article states Paraag Marathe knew about it. He’s the numbers guy and he does the contracts and manages the cap. So it’s reasonable that Baalke and Harbaugh weren’t aware of the clause as that’s not the job or concern.

  35. noncentsicle says: Jul 28, 2013 6:19 PM

    Rest assured, if it were my contract I’d know every detail inside and out. Can’t blame anyone except himself and possibly his agent.

  36. pgilbert15303 says: Jul 28, 2013 7:17 PM

    Wow, you Seattle guys are like a jilted lover. Did you want Pope Jim and got stuck with Pee-C?

    You can always tell who’s on top and who’s the ankle biters. Just look how many ankle biters go to the 49er boards and how many 49er fans go and pee on your parade…

    Sorry to bust on you Seattle… Good coffee, grunge bands and gray weather, but damn the petulant baby stuff has to stop…

  37. mtr75 says: Jul 28, 2013 7:28 PM

    So what if the team knew? They’re under no obligation to remind this moron. For all they knew he was not showing willingly. It’s nobody’s fault but the player’s. Not the agent, not the coach, not the GM, the player. You can guarantee if I signed a big ones contract I’d know every franking detail by heart.

  38. FoozieGrooler says: Jul 28, 2013 7:34 PM

    Appropriate picture.
    He couldn’t say that without laughing…

  39. thurstonblogging says: Jul 28, 2013 8:21 PM

    Why didn’t this lazy turd show up in the offseason? It’s on him and him alone. The liked this guy so much, they signed other corners in the offseason.

    What a maroon.

  40. wingz101 says: Jul 28, 2013 8:21 PM

    The Harbaugh in Baltimore is a guy that you could really follow anywhere and believe in. The Harbaugh in San Francisco seems like a guy who would stab you in the back just to get ahead of you in line at McDonald’s…

  41. kokomike says: Jul 28, 2013 8:25 PM

    I have to believe that every NFL contract is on file with the NFLPA.. If that is the case, I have to think the NFLPA would have a system to remind every player on how to gain the maximum value from the contract. Isn’t that why the NFLPA exists?

  42. pgilbert15303 says: Jul 28, 2013 8:37 PM

    Kook mike good point. I’m a Niner fan and have zero sympathy for the idiot.

    It’s a privilege to play for a championship caliber team. He’s the kind of guy that will blow his money anyways.

    He’ll, even if he played for Jacksonville he should have showed up. TEAM SPORT!

  43. thegreatsantini56 says: Jul 28, 2013 9:58 PM

    Coach Jim, did someone call in and tell the Niner’s that they didn’t owe Tarell 2 million? Perhaps it was a Tiger Master’s deal. I know if I just lost 2 million I would be all butt-hurt. If you want to win just be there every time the damn door opens.

  44. blackhawks2010 says: Jul 28, 2013 10:34 PM

    John Harbaugh got the coaching genes in the family….

  45. pop562 says: Jul 29, 2013 5:11 AM

    Pete Carroll has the cheating genes in her family.

  46. jimmylions says: Jul 29, 2013 11:43 AM

    Basically everything that everyone is saying is correct:

    The legal precedent is famous case of “Snooze v. Lose”. The responsibility is on Brown. The blame is squarely on his agent – that’s why he gets paid a ridiculously high salary.

    And yeah, nothing Harbaugh says to the press is ever to be trusted. Of course the organization knew and of course they let Brown make his own bed.

    A better response (from Harbaugh) would have been to plead ignorance and say his focus is 100% on getting the team ready for the season.

  47. hbk72777 says: Jul 29, 2013 1:39 PM

    The players have agents, that’s what they’re paid to do.

    Too bad, so sad

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