Colin Kaepernick the Hero:
Back in April 2011 the San Francisco 49ers drafted a pretty dynamic player to fill the need for a backup quarterback. He’d broken a couple records in college and certainly looked like something special. Being drafted in the second round, however, didn’t lead to an overly lucrative contract given his record and stats as a starter. In the last two seasons, Colin Kaepernick has helped take the team to the Super Bowl and the NFC Championship game. This certainly isn’t a bad thing to put on a pretty short resume. This begs the question, should the 49ers make extending him prior to his contract deadline imperative, and if they do, does he warrant a top-tier mega deal?
Well, does he?
Answering this question isn’t easy. Looking at salaries for the top paid QBs for 2014, we see a lot of names we’d expect to see: Jay Cutler, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Sam Bradford, Philip Rivers and Tony Romo. Maybe not all of the most deserving QBs considering the nature of their last few seasons, but still, overall an elite group of quarterbacks. Of this list, over the past two seasons only one of these has led their team to a winning record both years. You guessed it; Peyton Manning. He’s also the only one on the list to make it into the postseason both years. Colin Kaepernick has done both these things. It’s hard to argue with results like that, in my opinion.
While I may not want him to get a huge monetary extension, I really think he deserves something. He’s playing well above the level of the 36th-highest paid quarterback. I think something that puts him in the 20s – around what Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III make at about $2 million to $2.5 million a year, for at least a five-year extension would do wonders to keep the young player’s pocket book happy and keep the salary cap manageable for the large number of players that become free agents this offseason and next (a very ugly free agent year for the 49ers, because it includes Michael Crabtree, Aldon Smith, Mike Iupati, Adam Snyder, Chris Culliver, Kendall Hunter and Bruce Miller along with Kaepernick). Even something in the teens, around where Kyle Orton and Cam Newton sit at $3 million to $3.5 million a year would be good.
Getting reasonable, solid deals done for all these players ahead of free agency is going to be key to keeping the team competitive and preserving the existing chemistry, and that starts with giving Colin Kaepernick the money and contract he deserves.