The idea stems from the seven-year, $126-million contract Kaepernick signed with the 49ers last year, as the structure of this agreement is essentially a year-to-year situation.
Normally with quarterback contracts that include this much money, it’s very difficult for the team to get out this agreement without some repercussions. A good example of this is the Bears and Jay Cutler.
However, San Francisco could part ways with Kaep this offseason and still free up close to $5.4 million in cap space after just one year into this agreement.
On top of that, Kaepernick’s contract requires him to make the All-Pro team or lead the 49ers to the Super Bowl or his salary actually de-escalates by $2 million. This means Kaep’s salary for the 2015 season will be $10.4 million instead of $12.4 million.
Last year, Kaepernick didn’t put together a strong season and with the major changes that have been made in San Francisco, there is a chance that his struggles could continue into next season.
The 49ers now have a new coaching staff that includes a new head coach, offensive coordinator, and a new quarterbacks coach. The 49ers will almost certainly be implementing a new offensive system in 2015 and Kaep’s biggest support, Jim Harbaugh, is now coaching the University of Michigan.
It’s rare for a team to make such a dramatic change and see immediate results, so there could be a lot of pressure on Kaepernick next season.
Kawakami writes that if the teams struggles in any way, you can expect “constant scrutiny and pointed discussions about Kaepernick’s future with the 49ers after 2015, because that’s exactly how the 49ers designed this contract.”
According to Kawakami, the 49ers are expected to draft a quarterback this year, probably in the fourth round or so. They’re also likely to part ways with former first-round pick Blaine Gabbert.
Kaepernick, 27, completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 3,369 yards to go along with 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions over the course of 16 games. He also added another 639 yards rushing and a touchdown.
Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 28 quarterback out of 39 qualifying players.