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  1. #1
    Jordan is offline Pro-Bowler
    Join Date
    Dec 1969

    Bills put franchise tag on CB Nate Clements

    BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- Cornerback Nate Clements' plan to pursue a lucrative contract on the free agent market was put on hold when the Buffalo Bills designated him their franchise player Wednesday.

    The move was expected and means the Bills have retained the rights to Clements by offering the five-year starter and 2004 Pro Bowl selection a one-year contract worth $5.89 million.

    "We consider Nate a valuable member of our defense and believe he will play an important role in re-establishing our defense as one of the toughest units in the league," general manager Marv Levy said in a press release. Levy added he remains optimistic the Bills can negotiate a long-term deal with Clements.

    Clements' agent, Todd France, declined comment except to tell The Associated Press that he and his client will weigh their options. Adding he was not surprised by the Bills' decision, France said he might meet with Bills management while attending the NFL Combine in Indianapolis this week.

    Clements' options include accepting the offer or attempting to negotiate a long-term deal. He also has the right to bide his time, meaning he would not be required to attend team functions, including minicamps and training camp, until accepting the offer.

    Such a decision would mean that Clements would miss valuable time learning the Bills' defensive philosophy under new head coach Dick Jauron, who took over last month following Mike Mularkey's resignation.

    The Bills have the right to pull back the offer at any time, which would make Clements an unrestricted free agent.

    Although the move makes Clements one of the NFL's top-paid cornerbacks next season, the salary is well below what the player envisioned getting when free agency opens March 3.

    Clements created a stir during training camp last summer, saying he considered himself the NFL's best cornerback and wanted a deal similar to the seven-year, $63 million contract that included an $18 million bonus that Denver's Champ Bailey signed in 2004.

    Selected 21st overall in the 2001 draft out of Ohio State, Clements has 20 career interceptions and started 72 consecutive games since landing the starter's job midway through his rookie season.

    Also a threat returning punts, Clements leads the Bills with six career touchdown returns, including four by interception.

    Clements is coming off a down year. He finished third on the team with a career-low two interceptions -- the first time he failed to lead the Bills in that category -- and third with 127 tackles.

    He was also burned several times in pass coverage in a defensive unit that finished 29th in the NFL in yards allowed. That's a significant drop off after the Bills had finished second in the league in 2003 and '04.

    Buffalo, which also struggled on offense, finished 5-11 and failed to make the playoffs for the sixth straight year.

    Part of Clements' struggles were the result of an injury-plagued defense that lost two starters -- linebacker Takeo Spikes (torn Achilles' tendon) and Ron Edwards (shoulder) -- in the first month of the season

    "SSSMMMOOTTT" & "Toine" will be the best CB combo in the NFL next year TRUST ME!!!

  2. #2
    cajunvike's Avatar
    cajunvike is offline Jersey Retired
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    Sep 2004

    Re: Bills put franchise tag on CB Nate Clements

    I figured that was going to happen!

  3. #3
    V4L's Avatar
    V4L is offline Jersey Retired
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    Dec 1969

    Re: Bills put franchise tag on CB Nate Clements

    Good move by them.. One of the best cover corners in the league..

    I wouldn't let him get away either

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