Clements' situation with the 49ers

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

What's this about the newly re-signed Tarell Brown displacing Nate Clements on a one-game basis because he matches up better against the Colts' receivers?

A few thoughts that come to mind:

  • Clements has been inconsistent this season. He doesn't look comfortable out there. Is he hurt? Is his mind right? I'm not sure, but this situation strikes me as a little odd. As much as the 49ers like Brown, teams facing Peyton Manning and the Colts need all the experience they can get at cornerback.

  • Clements will still play in the game, presumably. Might his playing time come at Dre Bly's expense in various nickel situations?

  • Clements is 29 years old and has started 128 games since 2001. His salary jumps to $6 million in 2010 and his contract becomes prohibitive in 2011 and beyond. Those things wouldn't affect Clements' status for a game in Week 8 this season.

  • I'd be surprised if this were part of some broader transition from cornerback to safety. Several 49ers fans have asked me about this. Coach Mike Singletary laughed when a reporter brought it up a couple weeks ago. I think Clements would be a few years away from that sort of move.

This one is a bit baffling from this angle and I don't have enough information to say anything definitive. Yes, Clements has been inconsistent, but he's still a good talent and a hard worker and a good teammate, by all accounts. We haven't seen the last of him as a starting corner in the NFL.