What to do with Nate Clements?

How can the 49ers justify keeping Clements around this season for $15.2 million ($7.25 million base salary, $7.95 million reachable incentives)?

After a CBA is reached, NFL teams will have three days to deal exclusively with their own free agents. Clements, an average-producing cornerback, will be the first name on the what-do-list.

Yes, Clements was third on the team in tackles last season. He did have three interceptions, and forced three fumbles. But those numbers aren’t impressive, especially those tackles. The only way cornerbacks are close to leading a team in tackles is because the pass defense is weak.

And that the 49ers were in 2010, 24th in pass defense. Since Clements signed as a free agent on March 3, 2007, he has not played up to his 8-year, $80-million contract.

You wouldn’t call Clements a bust. He has 10 interceptions in his four 49er years. But when you sign someone for that long for that kind of money, he better be a shutdown corner and a Pro Bowler. Clements has been neither.

Either Clements agrees to take a huge pay cut or the 49ers release him. He may agree to be released and shop his services but it says here that if he does, Clements won’t be getting Pro Bowl money somewhere else.

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