In search of a new contract, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Chris Clemons skipped the team's offseason program, including organized team activities and the mandatory June minicamp. Doing so cost Clemons a $100,000 workout bonus, and his minicamp absence has him subject to $60,000 in cumulative fines.
If Clemons does not obtain the new contract he's seeking and is forced to play out the upcoming season on his existing deal, he will lose considerably more than $160,000.
By skipping the mandatory minicamp, Clemons forfeited the $1 million in base-salary escalation, a source with knowledge of his contract said. His performances in 2010 to 2011 triggered the additional money to his 2012 base salary. Instead of earning $4 million this season, Clemons' salary has rolled back to its original $3 million, with an additional $800,000 available in an incentive tied to sacks.
Knowing that his failure to appear for the minicamp would result in a loss of 2012 income, either through forfeiture or fines, can be taken as a sign of how serious Clemons is about receiving a new contract. Clemons reportedly turned down what was essentially a two-year, $14 million extension (three years, $18 million overall if the 2012 base-salary escalator kicked in) from the Seahawks earlier this offseason, and it's unclear where the two sides are in talks with training camp approaching.
The Seahawks have some leverage, as they could always franchise tag Clemons in 2013. If the salary cap remains flat, as it's expected to do, the franchise tender for a defensive end has a projected value of $10.835 million next season.
Clemons has started all 32 games for the Seahawks over the past two seasons, totaling 100 tackles and 22 sacks, and another sack in two playoff games. The Seahawks used their 2012 first-round draft pick on West Virginia pass-rush specialist Bruce Irvin, who is expected to play opposite Clemons in 2012 and could be a long-term replacement at the "Leo" position in coach Pete Carroll's defense.