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 CSNBayArea.com, 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.