6:04pm: The deal has a $12MM signing bonus where has most big deals for quarterbacks have bonuses of $24-$40MM, notes Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). He adds (link) that Kaepernick specifically requested that his extension allow the club enough flexibility to negotiate extensions with players such as Crabtree. The contract includes obtainable incentives – including some linked to the postseason – that could boost the average annual value to $21MM per year, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
3:22pm: The 49ers have officially confirmed Kaepernick’s extension, making it official (via Twitter).
3:12pm: Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter link) clarifies that the $61MM figure includes “rolling guarantees.” That means some of the money is likely guaranteed for injury only for now, and will become fully guaranteed if Kaepernick remains on the roster past certain dates.
3:09pm: Kaepernick’s new contract includes $61MM in guaranteed money, making it the largest guarantee in NFL history, tweets Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. At this point, that salary information is typically coming from the player’s agent, meaning the number could be a little artificially inflated. As I noted below, we’ll have to wait to see if that $61MM is all fully guaranteed money, or if a portion of it is guaranteed for injury only. Either way, Kaepernick seems to have made out very well for himself in the deal.
2:57pm: The 49ers and Colin Kaepernick have agreed to terms on a contract extension that will keep the quarterback under team control through the 2020 season, a club source tells Steve Berman of BayAreaSportsGuy.com. The new deal may ultimately eclipse $20MM per year, says Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, adding that it can be worth up to $126MM, with $60MM in guaranteed money (Twitter links).
We heard yesterday that the Niners and Kaepernick’s representatives resumed contract talks for the quarterback this week, as Kaepernick prepared to enter the final year of his rookie deal. The club had expressed optimism about getting a new agreement in place by the time training camp opened, and after a face-to-face meeting yesterday, it seems the two sides didn’t waste any time hammering out a deal.
Jay Cutler‘s $126MM+ contract, which averages more than $18MM per year, had been the most recent huge-money deal for a starting quarterback, and likely provided a baseline for Kaepernick’s negotiations. Although Cutler has more NFL experience than the Niners signal-caller, and has certainly racked up more impressive yardage and touchdown totals, Kaepernick is several years younger, and already has several postseason victories, including an appearance in the Super Bowl.
A report in March indicated that Kaepernick would be looking to exceed the long-term pacts signed by Cutler and Tony Romo (also $18MM per year), and that he’d be seeking a salary in the neighborhood of $20MM+ annually. We’ll have to wait for the exact figures on the extension’s base value, which figures to be a little smaller than its reported $126MM max value. But even if that $60MM isn’t all fully guaranteed, it seems Kaepernick’s new contract will put him right there with the league’s highest-paid quarterbacks.
In his first full season as the starter in San Francisco, Kaepernick completed 58.4% of his passes in 2013, racking up 3,197 passing yards and 21 passing touchdowns against just eight interceptions. He also scored four TDs on the ground. Although the 26-year-old only has 23 career regular-season starts to his name, he has compiled a 4-2 record in playoff contests, falling just short of beating the Ravens to win the Super Bowl following the 2012 season.
With Kaepernick locked up, the 49ers can shift their focus to several other potential extension candidates on the roster. Offensive lineman Alex Boone and tight end Vernon Davis weren’t in attendance at the club’s OTAs, in the hopes of negotiating new deals. The contracts of wide receiver Michael Crabtree and offensive lineman Mike Iupati will also need to be addressed soon.
Meanwhile, several quarterbacks will be keeping a close eye on the details of Kaepernick’s detail as they emerge. Alex Smith, Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, Russell Wilson, and Nick Foles are among the other QBs around the league who could ink extensions of their own within the next year or so.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.