Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, above, signed to a one-year deal by the 49ers in the offseason, stretches out on the first day of training camp in Santa Clara. At right, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh puts it to wide receiver Ricardo Lockette at practice. Story, Page C6 Marcio Jose Sanchez Associated Press

Contract clause costs 49ers' Brown big bucks

Published: Friday, Jul. 26, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Friday, Jul. 26, 2013 - 10:20 am

SANTA CLARA – You'll have to pardon 49ers cornerback Tarell Brown if he seemed a bit distracted during Thursday's practice. He had a good excuse.

Before heading out to the field for the first session of training camp, Brown learned – via Twitter – that he had forfeited $2 million of his $2.93 million base salary this season because he worked out at home in Texas during the offseason instead of the 49ers' facility in Santa Clara.

Brown said his agent did not notify him of the workout clause in his contract and now Brown, 28, is looking for a new agent. He said he fired his previous one, Brian Overstreet, after confirming his $2 million forfeiture.

"No one wants to leave money on the table," Brown said. "If I would have known the clauses in my contract, and that's what agents get paid to do – to orchestrate the contract and let you know what you can and can't do as far as workouts and OTAs and things of that sort. That's what he got paid to do. He didn't do that, so in my opinion he had to be let go."

Overstreet did not respond to a voice mail or text message Thursday.

Brown has been a two-year starter for the 49ers, is coming off his best season and arguably has been the team's most consistent cornerback during their two-year reign as NFC West champions.

He's also heading into the final year of his contract and is one of several 49ers cornerbacks whose futures with the team are cloudy.

Three others – Nnamdi Asomugha, Tramaine Brock and Perrish Cox – also are scheduled for free agency, while the other starter at the position, Carlos Rogers, is due to count a team-high $8.1 million against the salary cap in 2014.

Asked if he thought his high salary made him vulnerable to be cut at some point, Rogers said Wednesday he couldn't worry about that.

"It was the contract they presented to me, and I accepted it," he said. "… All I have to do is play well. My goal is to play here and play for this team. Other than that, I can't control it. I'm not trying to control it. I'm not letting it worry me. Just go out and play."

Brown said he planned to sit down with the 49ers and see if he might be able to recoup the money he lost. With the forfeiture, the 49ers gained another $2 million in salary cap space and are $7.4 million below the cap.

Brown and Rogers were the 49ers' starting cornerbacks during the initial practice of training camp Thursday. Asomugha and Chris Culliver were the second duo.

"It definitely was hard to concentrate, just because my mind was somewhere else," Brown said. "But this is a business, and I have a job to do and the 49ers are paying me to do a job."

Safety Donte Whitner is another veteran member of the secondary heading into the final year of his deal. Coach Jim Harbaugh said he hoped to work something out with the starting safety.

"Who do I respect more than Donte Whitner? Nobody," Harbaugh said. "He's right up there at the very top. He's one of the best athletes at his position in his sport, and I expect great things from Donte this year."

Read Matthew Barrows' blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers and listen for his reports Tuesdays on ESPN Radio 1320. Follow him on Twitter @mattbarrows.

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