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Colin Kaepernick Looking For Balance Between Money & 49ers Ability To Build Their Roster In New Deal

The 49ers offseason could be centered around QB Colin Kaepernick given that he will be eligible to negotiate a long-term contract at the start of the 2014 league year. San Francisco has free agents to addressed in the coming months, but getting Kaepernick locked up long-term is likely to be at the top of their priorities list.

A few weeks ago, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports mentioned that Kaepernick could end up signing one of the largest contracts in NFL history this offseason.

However, it appears as though Kaepernick plans on finding a better balance with regards to his future earnings and the team’s ability to retain some of their core players moving forward.

“I think it’s a balance,” Kaepernick said on Thursday during an appearance on San Francisco radio station KNBR, via the Sacramento Bee. “You want to be paid fairly for what you feel like you’re doing in comparison to your peers. But at the same time, you have to realize that if we want to get Anquan Boldin back, if we want Donte Whitner to come back, we’re going to have to make moves to get them back and there has to be room for everyone.”

Kaepernick, 26, is in the final year of his rookie contract and will make $1.073 million for the 2014 season. There is still a good chance that Kaepernick could secure a top-10 ten this offseason, even if he’s willing to give the 49ers some additional room to address other positions.

Here’s a look at the contracts signed by NFL quarterbacks in the past year:

  • Matt Ryan (28):
    • six years, $113.75M total, $59M guaranteed, $18,96M annually. 
  • Tony Romo (33):
    • seven years, $119.5M total, $55M guaranteed, $17.07M annually.
  • Aaron Rodgers (30):
    • seven years, $130.75M total, $54M guaranteed, $18.67M annually.
  • Jay Cutler (30):
    • seven years, $126M total, $54M guaranteed, $18M annually.
  • Joe Flacco (28):
    • six-years, $120.6M total, $52M guaranteed, $20.1M annually.
  • Matthew Stafford (25):
    • five years, $76.5M total, $41.5M guaranteed, $15.3M annually.

There are a number of ways to look at these contracts, but the guaranteed figures are really what matters most as NFL contracts aren’t guaranteed beyond that.

When the Packers locked up Rodgers, they shifted a large percentage of that contract to bonuses prorated over the course of five years with additional roster bonuses of $9.5 million and $10.1 million being paid out in 2014 and 2015. This gives them the option to renegotiate his contract in 2016 in order to get cap figures down to something more manageable.

It would make sense for the San Francisco to do something similar with Kaepernick’s contract which is essentially shifting money to certain years while allowing them the ability to address others in the time being. The 49ers have other players eligible for extensions too including WR Michael Crabtree, OLB Aldon Smith and G Mike Iupati as well as free agents to address.

I’m sure we’ll be hearing more regarding Kaepernick’s next contract in the coming months.