The extension discussion on the San Francisco 49ers that has received the most media attention is head coach Jim Harbaugh’s potential extension, but talks regarding a new deal for star quarterback Colin Kaepernick are just as important. Kaepernick is heading into the final year of his rookie deal, which will pay him $973,766. He’s going to make at least $15 million more than that per year, even if he hinted at giving the 49ers a bit of a discount in comments made in late January. In fact, a $15 million per year deal would constitute a discount, as it sounds like Kaep is looking for several million more than that as one of the game’s most talented QBs.
Per sources close to the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin, Kaepernick is looking for a deal that is “similar or slightly better than” the extensions that were given to Dallas Cowboys star passer Tony Romo and Chicago Bears signal-caller Jay Cutler. Romo makes $18 million per year and Cutler makes $18.1 million, but the Cowboys QB makes a couple of million more in guaranteed money. In my book, Kaepernick is a better passer than Cutler and not as good as Romo, but the age gap certainly makes up for that distance.
Trent Baalke and the 49ers will likely have to pony up in order to lock up their franchise quarterback, and Volin reports that if Kaepernick feels that the 49ers aren’t giving him a good enough deal this offseason, he will simply play out the 2014 season under his current deal instead of rushing into a contract that he feels is lower than his value. It will be interesting to see how much the 49ers are willing to pay him and how quickly negotiations proceed. The 49ers have to carefully balance their budget, and that’s one of the most difficult things that elite teams face. Not only was it hard enough work to assemble a deep, talented roster capable of winning the Super Bowl, but maintaining it leads to tough decisions. Kaepernick is staying for sure, but the amount of money he takes will affect what the Niners can do; hopefully he’ll be much kinder than Joe Flacco was to the Baltimore Ravens.