When word first broke yesterday that the 49ers had extended Colin Kaepernick‘s contract, huge numbers were being cited for his future earnings. The deal was said to be worth up to $126MM, with $61MM in guaranteed money, which would be a new record. However, as I cautioned at the time, those initial figures are generally coming from the player’s side, often from a source like his agent. So it was fair to wonder if they were artificially inflated.
As it turns out, that was indeed the case. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has passed along several details on the contract, which is much more team-friendly than initially believed. Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap has attempted to distill the reported figures into chart form, but we’ll break down a few pertinent details below:
- At the time of signing, only $13.073MM is fully guaranteed — a $12.328MM signing bonus, a 2014 base salary of $645K, and a ’14 workout bonus of $100K. Additionally, the ’14 base salary and workout bonus were already on Kaepernick’s previous deal, so the signing bonus is really the only part of the new contract that’s fully guaranteed.
- For now, Kaepernick’s base salaries in 2015, 2016, 2017, and part of 2018 are guaranteed for injury only. They become fully guaranteed if the quarterback remains on the team’s roster beyond April 1 of each year. Those base salaries are as follows:
- 2015: $12.4MM
- 2016: $13.9MM
- 2017: $16.9MM
- 2018: $17MM ($5.2MM currently guaranteed for injury only)
- Kaepernick’s 2019 and 2020 base salaries are fully non-guaranteed. They amount to $18.8MM and $21MM, respectively.
- In each year from 2015 to 2020, the overall value of the contract is set to de-escalate by $2MM, up to a total of $12MM. Kaepernick can halt this de-escalation at any time by taking 80% of the team’s snaps and either appearing in the Super Bowl or being named the first- or second-team All-Pro quarterback. If Kaepernick were to meet these criteria in 2014, that entire $12MM would remain. However, if, for instance, he doesn’t meet the criteria and stop the de-escalator until the 2017 season, he’d lose $6MM in overall value – $2MM for each of the three previous seasons.
- Beginning in 2015, the contract includes a massive $2MM per year in per-game roster bonuses, meaning Kaepernick would miss out on $125K for each regular season game he didn’t play.
- Starting in 2015, the deal also includes $400K in annual workout bonuses.
- The contract required Kaepernick to buy a disability policy that pays the Niners $20MM if he suffers a career-ending injury.
- In total then, the value of the new money in the extension is $126.328MM. However, given the modest signing bonus and the absence of a lot of fully guaranteed money, the 49ers essentially have the ability to go year to year on the deal without risking too much dead money acceleration.