Sando writes that this decision seemed a lot more obvious before he spoken with some NFL executives regarding the topic.
“I wonder if the landscape for quarterbacks in the NFL has forever changed with what Russell Wilson just did and what happened with Flacco,” said an agent of one of the NFL’s more accomplished quarterbacks said. “Are you better off having young, inexpensive quarterbacks and trying to win with these guys?”
Sando points out that Kaepernick’s numbers were similar to that of Alex Smith during his time working with HC Jim Harbaugh, as was his record, and mentions that paying quarterbacks $20 million annually forces teams to cut corners elsewhere.
Sando believes the 49ers should consider using one of their 11 2014 draft picks on a quarterback and allow Kaepernick to enter the final year of his rookie contract knowing that they have the franchise tag in their back pocket if they need it in 2015. San Francisco could negotiate a long-term deal throughout the season while allowing a young prospect time to develop, and in the event that Kaepernick struggles, they would be better positioned to negotiate a contract.
According to Sando, the 49ers could offer him a front-loaded deal that would pay him close to $15 million per year. This would give him the opportunity to negotiate another long-term contract once he’s 30 years old while providing a reasonably fair salary. Sando offers a three years, $45 million contract as a deal that would make sense for the 49ers.
The 49ers have other free agents to address as well as some players eligible for long-term deals, so the negotiations with Kaepernick will require a great deal of planning if they are able to retain their young nucleus.