Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers have agreed to a contract extension through the 2020 season, according to reports. Per NFL.com's Ian Rapoport, the deal is worth $126 million with $61 million guaranteed. That $61 million is the most ever guaranteed in an NFL contract.
The 49ers confirmed reports on Twitter:
Kaepernick was set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2014 season upon the completion of his four-year rookie contract. He signed a deal worth $5,124,296 as a second-round pick in 2011. He has since become the 49ers' starting quarterback and was instrumental in leading the team to a Super Bowl after the 2012 season, and the NFC Championship this past season. Suffice it to say, he earned his healthy pay raise.
Kaepernick's new contract makes him one of the highest paid players in the NFL. An average salary of $21 million per season would put him just behind Aaron Rodgers' $22 million as the highest paid player in the NFL. His guaranteed money is just ahead of Peyton Manning's $58 million, according to Spotrac.
However, the deal has plenty of out for the 49ers, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Kaepernick received a $12.328 million signing bonus as part of his guaranteed money, but it becomes tricky after that.
The former Nevada star only sees his base salary as guaranteed in the event of injury. Should San Francisco decide to part ways during any of the three upcoming offseasons before April 1 (the date in which the base salary becomes fully guaranteed in 2015, 2016 and 2017), they are off the hook completely.
In 2018, only $5.2 million of the $17 million total is guaranteed, followed by non-guaranteed base salaries of $18.8 and $21M in 2019 and 2020 respectively. In reality, Kaepernick signed a very lucrative year-to-year deal, which gives the 49ers flexibility to cut ties should they decide it is the best course of action.
Also, San Francisco could see its commitment shrink by $2M per season starting in 2015 if Kaepernick does not take both 80 percent of the snaps along with either leading the 49ers to the Super Bowl or being named a first/second-team All-Pro. For each year he fails to meet those marks, he loses another $2M in salary.
Though the 49ers have enjoyed plenty of team success under Kaepernick, he is coming off a somewhat disappointing season. His quarterback rating dropped to 91.6 from the 98.3 he posted during his breakout 2012 campaign, and he completed 58.4 percent of his passes after completing 62.4 percent the year prior.
Kaepernick was plenty effective with 3,197 yards and 21 touchdowns to eight interceptions, however. His 521 rushing yards ranked fourth among quarterbacks last season, and he posted those numbers at a healthy 5.7 yards per carry.
The ramifications of Kaepernick's new deal could be fascinating to track. NFC West rival Russell Wilson is due for a new deal by 2016, for example. Given a trend of ever-booming contracts for quarterbacks, as well as Wilson's sheen from winning a Super Bowl ring, we can expect the Seattle Seahawks quarterback to earn a big contract as well.