The 49ers want everyone to believe that they didn’t know that cornerback Tarell Brown had $2 million riding on his decision to participate in offseason workouts. And they’re trying to make the implausible slightly less implausible.
As explained by Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com on Tuesday’s edition of PFT Live, the 49ers contend that they don’t check the various workouts bonuses and incentives until after the conclusion of the offseason workout program. Which means that the 49ers never know who is at risk of losing money, which keeps them from ever having to face the dilemma of warning a guy that he should think twice about not showing up for the offseason program.
At least one league source with knowledge of the mechanics of workout bonuses and incentives doesn’t believe the team’s version. But even if the 49ers are telling the truth, it’s not a good look.
The approach would put money and cap space over preparation for the coming season, while also giving the team cover when the question comes up regarding whether they could have or should have warned a player who was in danger of losing his money.
Regardless, the problem remains. Brown is out $2 million, and the team contends it didn’t know that Brown was in danger of having his base salary drop from $2.925 million to $925,000.
As one league source with knowledge of the situation but no connection to it suggested to PFT, it shouldn’t matter. Whether the 49ers knew or didn’t know, the source believes they should give Brown the benefit of the doubt and push his salary back to $2.925 million.
The source also opined that the team’s failure to do so suggests that, even though Brown remains a starter, the 49ers apparently don’t regard him as a valued, long-term member of the team.