Colin Kaepernick and 49ers Agree on New Contract: Latest Details and Reaction

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Colin Kaepernick and 49ers Agree on New Contract: Latest Details and Reaction
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Updates from Thursday, June 5

NBC's Mike Florio provides financial insight into Colin Kaepernick's new contract with the 49ers:

Technically, the deal has $61 million guaranteed, even though $6 million of the guaranteed salary could evaporate (more on that later).  Either way, only $13.073 million is guaranteed at signing.  It comes in the form of a $12.328 million signing bonus, a base salary of $645,000, and a workout bonus of $100,000.

For 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and part of 2018, the base salaries are guaranteed only for injury.  On April 1 of each year, the guarantees convert from injury only to fully guaranteed.  That gives the 49ers the ability to decide, in any given year, to move on from Kaepernick.  And with the deadline for the conversion of the guarantee coming on April 1, the 49ers can squat on his rights until several weeks after the start of free agency, making it harder for him to get paid elsewhere.

[...]

As one source put it, Kaepernick can feel good about the deal because he has a lot more guaranteed money today than he had yesterday.  But the same source also added that the 49ers are nevertheless “thrilled” with the contract, which allows them to control Kaepernick’s rights for seven years and to move on after any of the next six seasons, if they ultimately decide that Kaepernick is more like the guy who struggled at times during the 2013 regular season and less like the guy who found the gas pedal in the playoffs.

 John Middlekauff of CSN gave an agent's take on the deal:

Original Text

The San Francisco 49ers have officially decided on Colin Kaepernick as their quarterback of the future, signing the dynamic young signal-caller to a contract extension through 2020 on Wednesday.

The 49ers released a statement about the extension:

The San Francisco 49ers have signed quarterback Colin Kaepernick to a six-year contract extension through the 2020 season.

“Colin’s hard work and dedication have played an integral role in the recent success of the 49ers organization,” said 49ers general manager Trent Baalke. “His work ethic, leadership and on-field production have positively influenced our team, and we look forward to his continued growth in all areas. 

“Our organization always looks to reward our players for their contributions and commitment to the team. Colin’s agents, Scott Smith and Jason Bernstein, along with Paraag Marathe and Brian Hampton, should be commended for working diligently to reach an agreement.

The 49ers pass along Kaepernick's comments on the contract:

Bay Area Sports Guy was the first to report the deal:

CSN Bay Area's Matt Maiocco reports Kaepernick could earn up to a staggering $126 million with the new deal:

Bleacher Report breaks down whether or not Kaepernick is worth such a large sum of money:

Adam Schefter of ESPN previously reported the deal was worth $100 million:

SportsCenter reported financial information on the contract, revealing an even greater figure than the $100 million figure Schefter initially provided:

ESPN's Trey Wingo puts the numbers into perspective:

NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport provides more details:

Rapoport initially reported on Feb. 22 that the two sides met to discuss terms of a new deal over dinner:

This coming 2014 season marks the last of Kaepernick's original rookie contract, which was a four-year deal worth $5.12 million for the former second-round (No. 36 overall) pick, per Spotrac.com.

The new deal is a massive increase from that amount to say the least, but it's also one that could diminish the Niners' hopes of building a better roster or surrounding Kaepernick with superior offensive weapons. Having a QB signed to a cheap deal—like the Seattle Seahawks have with Russell Wilson—opens the door for major free-agent signings elsewhere. 

Rapoport reported on March 3 that Kaepernick was demanding $18.2 million per season in his new deal—on par with the contracts of Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler and Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys—per NFL.com's Chris Wesseling. With that much money at stake, the Niners thus needed to decide whether they considered him on the level of a franchise quarterback.

Fox Sports Live provided a glimpse at the highest salaries at Kaepernick's position, and the list suggests that he may well warrant a similar investment:

It makes sense if San Francisco had some reservations about Kaepernick toward the beginning of negotiations—especially with his gaudy demands—considering this past season was his first as a full-time starter. After unseating Alex Smith in 2012 and leading the team to Super Bowl XLVII, the 2013 campaign saw Kaepernick endure an extended slump and some growing pains as he continued to add polish to his game.

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Kaepernick threw for an incredible 412 yards and three touchdowns in a Week 1 win over the Green Bay Packers, but the going got far tougher thereafter. Accuracy and consistent footwork were issues the 26-year-old had to fight through and push to improve.

What helped Kaepernick's cause was his explosive athleticism and breathtaking arm talent. Those elements allowed him to continue making plays—enough to the point where his confidence remained steady and got the Niners to the NFC Championship Game for the third year in a row.

San Francisco lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Seahawks, 23-17, with Kaepernick accounting for three fourth-quarter turnovers. That's not what a franchise QB should do, yet the organization was smart not to let that skew its judgment in assessing Kaepernick's long-term value.

That Seahawks defense befuddled the likes of Denver Broncos legend Peyton Manning as Seattle went on to seize the Lombardi Trophy. Quarterbacks often shoulder the majority of the blame, but Kaepernick's lack of ball security versus Seattle wasn't entirely composed of unforced errors.

ESPN.com's Bill Williamson believes Kaepernick is San Francisco's best player, which, given the depth of talent on the Niners roster, speaks volumes:

Former NFL quarterback and current Niners head coach Jim Harbaugh made the bold move to bench Smith for Kaepernick in the first place, but was the subject of interesting rumors during the offseason. Harbaugh was reportedly pursued by the Cleveland Browns in a potential trade, but he denied it, per ESPN's Ed Werder:

It's important that Harbaugh stays around to continue grooming Kaepernick. If that happens, this contract extension should prove to be a fruitful investment by general manager Trent Baalke and Co. Kaepernick is just beginning to realize his potential and has even more room to grow in terms of decision-making, processing the complexities of the offense and reading defenses.

The nice part about this offense is that it is based on a strong rushing attack, which Kaepernick contributes to. It sets up great opportunities for vertical shots down the field, something that Kaepernick can capitalize on with his aforementioned sensational arm.

With this vote of confidence from the franchise, look for Kaepernick to continue improving, eventually establishing himself as a truly elite, new-age quarterback with the mobility to scare defenses on the ground and the savvy to devastate them from the pocket.

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