This past Wednesday, Colin Kaepernick signed a six-year $126 million contract extension, including $61 million of guaranteed cash. What…The…Hell…? This was a shock to me. Colin Kaepernick is one of the most mobile and running oriented quarterback in the league not named Robert Griffin III. He is always at risk to tear up his knee from one crushing hit. And the 49ers are going to be paying him $10 million per year. The 49ers were smart and structured the contract to be easy to get out of every year but I am at a loss to understand the logic behind this deal.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Kaepernick is a great young quarterback with a ton of potential. And the 49ers aren’t making this deal on potential alone. Kaepernick has led his team to the Super Bowl and the NFC Title game during his last two seasons. I still don’t think I have seen enough that I would sign him to a contract with more guaranteed money that anyone in the league, including Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.
Moreover, Kaepernick will now head into this season as the sixth highest paid player in league for 2014. The only players in front of him are Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning. Four of those guys have a Super Bowl ring. Matt Ryan has led his team to the playoffs four separate times and has over 150 career touchdowns. The guy after Kaepernick is the league’s best wide receiver Calvin Johnson. I just don’t think he fits with these names yet. Heck, Kaepernick isn’t even the best quarterback in his division (see Wilson, Russell).
Potentially the most interesting thing about Kaepernick’s contract is the way it is structured. San Francisco pretty much created an escape route for themselves if things go south with Kaepernick. It makes me wonder if this is something we will see more of in the future. Will teams look to cover themselves by avoid true long-term deals and simply look to create incentive-based contracts instead. It allows them to review players on a year-to-year basis and if the player continually shows they are worth the money, then they will be guaranteed it for the next year. I don’t see this being something many players will be looking to sign but it is a smart move by the 49ers for the way it is structured.
I think this was a great idea for the 49ers, just not the right player to give it to. Maybe if we were sitting here this time next year and Colin Kaepernick had just made it two his third consecutive NFC Title game then I would be a little less hesitant about this but truthfully Kaepernick has played one full season in the NFL and now he getting paid like a future Hall of Famer. He has no MVP awards, no Super Bowl rings, he hasn’t even throw for 25 touchdowns in one season. I just don’t think he is worth being paid as the sixth best football player in the league.
That’s just my take on it. Let me know what you think.