The San Francisco 49ers are starting to think about the future of quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The team met with Kaepernick's representatives at the NFL Combine to have dinner and discuss preliminary contract extension talks.
Kaepernick is entering the final year of his rookie contract. A second-round pick out of the 2011 NFL Draft, he's set to make just $973,766 in 2014. That makes him one of the biggest bargains in the league, but he would clearly like to get paid closer to his market value. He replaced an injured Alex Smith in 2012 and never looked back, leading the 49ers to the Super Bowl. He wasn't as consistent in his first full season as a starter, but the 49ers still made the NFC Championship Game for the third straight year.
It's unknown if or when the 49ers will strike a deal with Kaepernick, but it's expected to set the market for the next crop of young starting quarterbacks. Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III are all eligible to re-negotiate their rookie deals in 2015, and all three are no doubt paying attention to Kaepernick's next contract.
The 49ers have just under $10 million in cap space, according to Over The Cap, so they'd have to make some moves to accommodate Kaepernick's new deal. One of those moves could involve releasing cornerback Carlos Rodgers, which would free up $5.1 million. Kaepernick's uneven 2013 season might deflate his price tag a bit, but he remains a talented dual-threat quarterback with immense upside. It would appear re-signing Kaepernick, and Anquan Boldin, are among the 49ers' top priorities this offseason.