Tarell Brown SF 49ers

“We’re going to our best to make it right,” Trent Baalke said. “… We’re going to do our best to make sure T. Brown feels he’s being treated fairly by the 49ers’ organization.”

That was about a week ago, from a Q&A session with the San Francisco 49ers General Manager in London. Yesterday there were a couple reports about Brown that painted very different pictures.

First, from Jason LaCanfora:

San Francisco 49ers corner Tarell Brown, who missed out on a $2 million workout bonus this past offseason because his former agent did not apprise him of the clause, is expected to have a new deal with the team this month, according to a league source. The deal is likely to be completed this month and would allow Brown to recoup the lost money in the form of upfront money and future salaries.

Matt Maiocco reported this a little later in the day:

CBS Sports reported a new deal for Brown that would allow him to recoup the lost money is likely to be completed this month. But two sources told CSNBayArea.com that there has been no recent negotiations toward a new contract.

It’s difficult to know what exactly is going on when two respected reporters cite unnamed sources. Those sources can be players, front office employees, coaches or agents. If forced to speculate, I’d assume LaCanfora’s “league source” is an agent and at least one of Maiocco’s two sources is someone who works for the 49ers and wanted to refute LaCanfora’s story.

This isn’t to say LaCanfora doesn’t know what he’s doing, but there are a couple reasons why it makes sense to trust Maiocco here.

1. Maiocco has been on the 49ers beat for over a decade, while LaCanfora is a national reporter. It’s pretty rare to see one of the journalists who reports on the entire NFL scoop one of the 49ers’ beat writers.

2. Brown, who turns 29 in January, seems to be slipping. Brown committed eight penalties last year, and has already been flagged six times in 2013. Quarterbacks had a rating of 75.2 when targeting Brown in 2012; this season quarterbacks have a rating of 96.4.

Baalke didn’t promise that the 49ers would make up the $2 million Brown lost. “We’re going to do our best” could mean pretty much anything, but the only guarantee here is that Baalke is going to do whatever’s in the best interest of the organization. With Tramaine Brock also among the several 49ers cornerbacks set to become unrestricted free agents at the end of the season, the desire to lock up Brown has probably diminished — especially since at times Brock has looked like the better player (that isn’t to say Brock, who tends to gamble, has been perfect).

The 49ers have to figure out what they’re going to do with UFAs like Brown, Brock, Perrish Cox and Eric Wright. They’ll need to decide whether or not to bring back Carlos Rogers as well, and Darryl Morris and Chris Culliver will figure in the 49ers’ plans next season. They’ll probably be hesitant to put a large amount of their cap budget into the cornerback position with big-money extensions for Colin Kaepernick and others on the horizon, so unless Brown is willing to sign at a “discount” — which seems unlikely, since the 49ers didn’t offer the same type of courtesy when Brown didn’t live up to the fine print of his contract — San Francisco will probably let Brown play out his contract year instead of bending over backwards to satisfy him anytime in the immediate future.