In-Depth Look At The Nate Clements Deal
Nate Clements was signed yesterday to an 8-year, $80 million contract by the San Francisco 49ers, making him the highest paid defensive player ever.
The deal has made headlines on many sports-media outlets, and the first response of many has been “really?” It is true that an $80 million contract has been signed, but it’s not like Clements will receive all of that money at once…or ever, for that matter.
As previously mentioned on this blog, there is no such thing as a guaranteed contract [Value of Signing Bonuses]. On the other hand, teams may determine a percentage of a contract to involve guaranteed money. In the case of Clements, $22 million of the $80 million contract is guaranteed [Niners make Clements NFL’s highest-paid defender]. $22 million is still nothing to scoff at; however, it must be noted that it is a small percentage of the supposed $80 million that Clements will earn.
Todd France should be praised for the deal that he brokered for his client, though. First, he obtained the largest deal ever for a defender who has never even had a chance to perform in the playoffs or a Pro Bowl. Second, France had enough insight to put a stipulation into last year’s contract with the Buffalo Bills, which only allowed the organization to designate Clements as a franchise player for that year alone (for more on franchise designations: NFL Franchise Tags).
France had to demonstrate that Clements deserved a contract worth more than former highest-paid defender, Champ Bailey. Bailey received a 7-year, $63 million deal from the Broncos in 2004. Todd France should congratulate himself for getting the most value out of his client.