Rumblings from several sources concerning the Chris Clemons contract situation have not been in short supply recently.
By now, we all know Clemons is one of the team’s hardest workers, posting two consecutive seasons where he notched 11 sacks. For a guy who was largely unheralded and undervalued in Philadelphia, where he played with the Eagles, those are impressive totals. We also know that because of the production that far outweighed projection, Clemons is frustrated with his contract, and has held out of mandatory minicamp last week in protest of his current salary.
First, FOX Sports’ Len Pasquarelli reported that Clemons rejected a 3-year, $18M extension from the Seahawks. But then, as Eric Williams confirmed, no rejection has been made, and the two sides continue to negotiate the numbers heading into training camp.
Clemons doesn’t have much leverage here. Frustrated as he may be with the fact that a) he might not be getting paid as much as other players at his position in the league, and b) watched as the Hawks used its first-round draft pick for DE Bruce Irvin two months ago, Clemons is by no means overlooked. The coaching staff knows what they have in him. He plays much younger than his age (31) because of the limited field time he saw in Philadelphia before coming here. He has a monstrous, relentless motor when going after the quarterback. He’s solid against the run. And he’ll serve as an ideal mentor for Irvin as he learns the “Elephant” position in Pete Carroll’s offense.
Currently, Clemons is set to make $4 million in 2012. There’s no way he’s going to turn his back on that money. Training camp is less than six weeks away, and the coaching staff will expect Clemons to be there from day one. He’s already looking at a $100,000 fine for staying home through minicamp, but the more important issue here is maintaining his own value. A player who drops off in skill and production isn’t going to be valued by the team, so Clemons would only be shooting himself in the foot if he continued his MIA streak into next month.
Barring anything completely unexpected, I’m reasonably confident that the Seahawks and Clemons will come to an agreement by August at the latest. Fans don’t have much of a reason to be truly concerned, especially since this defense is rapidly shaping up to be a top-five in 2012.
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