Jeffrey Phelps/Associated Press
Contract negotiations have begun with Colin Kaepernick, which has officially lifted the moratorium on what the 49ers quarterback is actually worth.
With his unique style, mere 29 games of experience and the perpetually inflating salary for franchise-caliber signal-callers, this is a debate folks can’t get enough of. Everyone is chiming in as the team tries to find an appropriate middle ground with its explosive, yet continually developing passer.
This was an interesting take from Super Bowl champion quarterback Kurt Warner on NFL Network:
This was in the ballpark of where most of the argument lies (and sort of a slight to Kaepernick on two counts):
This might’ve been the best and most straightforward take:
Clearly it’s a mixed bag.
The consensus seems to be, “Yeah, he’s good, but is that really what teams are paying quarterbacks nowadays?” Hey, it’s inflation. People also have a gripe with Kaepernick being paid so handsomely and still not being the finished product yet. And this is understandable.
Twenty million dollars is a lot of money.
Regardless, the only opinions that matter are the ones that emanate from his teammates, all of whom he’s helped thrive. Well, them and the front office, of course. Those are the ones that put in work for him and stick their necks out for him. They’re the ones Kap needs to believe in him when it’s third-and-long and they’re down in the fourth quarter.
And they do.
“[Kaepernick] is dynamic on the ground and in the air,” said Pro Bowl tight end and team captain Vernon Davis, via 95.7 The Game. “He’s the ultimate quarterback. He’s always working hard.” Davis is just one player but his opinion is as valid as any. He speaks for the team.
And that team has bought in completely to Kaepernick’s talent and his work ethic, and that’s an important intangible to have.
Moreover, like Sigmund Bloom of Football Guys alluded to, Kap is going to get what he’s going to get because that’s the market. He is totally entitled to ask for that much because that’s what guys are earning—many of which don’t even enter his realm when it comes to overall potential.
Outside of his two NFC title visits and near Super Bowl victory, the reason Kap’s briefly tagged $18 million figure jumped to $20 million is because everyone realizes there’s top-five talent in him. When quarterbacks Drew Brees (35), Tom Brady (36) and Peyton Manning (37) are done, he will be among the elites.
So it’s not as if Kaepernick’s representation, XAM Sports, is being totally unreasonable here. It’s also not as if the 49ers weren’t completely expecting to pony up the dough at some point. He’s a transcendent player at the position, and he can be great for a very long time.
They knew it when they drafted him.
It’s true he hasn’t yet distinguished himself as the clear-cut best, but the veteran version of Kaepernick may be one of the best of this era when it’s all said and done. Remember, though it seems like he’s been starting for a while since he was drafted in 2011, he’s started only one full NFL season.
His value is as low as it'll ever be and he's on the rise.