Colin Kaepernick won’t be signing any contract for $18 million a season. Not for $18.5 million per year, either. The idea he would be happy to land a deal in the range of what Tony Romo or Jay Cutler is earning is a complete and total misnomer. Ain’t happenin’.
So I’ll let you in on a little secret: The 49ers already know this. Unequivocally. Their negotiations with their young franchise quarterback are still in their infancy, but they are quite aware there aren’t any bargain deals to be had here. Far from it. Talks with Kaepernick, if they truly get off the ground, will begin at $20 million a year.
As I first reported back in January, Kaepernick is perfectly willing to gamble on himself, a la Joe Flacco, and will play out his rookie contract if need be (he is signed through 2014). He won’t be doing any “bridge contracts” or “band-aid deals,” and I can tell you that an extension in the range of the Romos and Cutlers and Staffords simply is not happening.
This kid is confident enough and stubborn enough and motivated enough and focused enough to stick to that position no matter what the 49ers put before him. I can assure you that. He won’t budge for less than he believes he is worth. This shouldn’t be a revelation based on what I’ve reported before the NFC title game and earlier this offseason and again, last week, during the combine.
But in the wake of a Boston Globe report pegging Kaepernick’s magic number around $18 million, I cannot emphasize strongly enough how far a deal structured in that manner will fall short.
So I’m going to let you in on another little secret: Kaepernick believes he is a top-five quarterback. Staunchly. Now, you and I can debate this — and likely will, later in this here column — but in the end, what I think and what you believe is irrelevant. San Francisco eventually has to get Kaepernick to agree to sign away the next five-plus years of his playing career, and that absolutely, positively will not come cheap. At a time when Aaron Rodgers is the league’s top-rated passer at $22 million a year, and an aging Peyton Manning is the fifth-highest paid at $19.2 million a season, Kaepernick feels, in his bones, to his core, that he belongs somewhere between there, and I bet sometime in the next three months he gets just that, same as Flacco and Ryan did a year ago.
Now, Kaepernick would never express any of these feelings publicly, and there’s no need for him to. In the end, all the talking that needs to occur happens on the field. The body of work speaks loudest.
So, Kaepernick, if he signs a contract extension with the 49ers, will be doing so in the range of $20 million per season, putting him among the top five or six salaries in the history of the game. Otherwise, he’ll play for his $1M in 2014 and then force the issue with the 49ers as to whether they franchise him, or sign him to what will in all likelihood be an even more massive contract come 2015 if this kid continues to develop as rapidly as he has to this point. And you can go ahead and ask the Ravens if they would have preferred to have Flacco signed at around $16.6M annually, as they could have in 2011, or Flacco at $20.1M annually, as was the case when he put pen to paper after winning the Super Bowl following the 2012 season.
Timing, alas, is everything. And time is very, very much on Kaepernick’s side.
– Jason La Canfora, CBSSports.com
Ninety-nine days before the World Cup gets under way in Brazil, the United States got a dose of the intensity of international soccer.
On Wednesday, the team played a “friendly” against the Ukraine, which is an interesting term for a game that had to be relocated to the island of Cyprus because of unrest and security issues.
The highly motivated Ukraine team defeated the U.S. 2-0 in a surreal game played in a virtually empty stadium. The game was moved, canceled, resurrected and then hastily arranged to be played on the island 600 miles south of Ukraine.
Whenever I hear people say you must separate sports and politics, I want to laugh. Sports can’t be separated from politics.
The recently concluded Sochi Olympics were brimming with politics. Almost the moment they were over, Vladimir Putin sent his troops into Ukraine. Now the Paralympic Games are about to get under way, on Friday, against a backdrop of fears about safety. Sadly, the Paralympics receive little attention in this country, but we should be just as concerned about the security of those athletes as the ones in the Winter Games.
There’s no sport more political than soccer. On Wednesday, a handful of Ukrainian fans in the stands unfurled a banner reading: “Ukraine is Undivided. One country, One team.” In the game’s waning moments, those fans sang their national anthem, loudly enough to be heard over the telecast. Sports is a vehicle to express solidarity and pride. A chance to make a stand.
– Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle
A lot of people take a lot of things for granted in the Bay Area. Those of us who have lived here all or most of our lives are particularly guilty as charged.
Weather, scenery, convenience, social tolerance, etc. We’re somehow numb to how good we have it, to the point that you’ll actually hear someone piss and moan about a little rain in early March, clearly oblivious to the Hollywood-blockbuster-gone-bad conditions experienced out in the real world.
This comforting but clueless complacency seems to extend to the world of professional sports in these parts, too. No doubt there are exceptions, but it’s highly unlikely that many of us natives truly appreciate the fact that we have six big-league teams that, together, fill the entire calendar year with action and all play within about an hour’s drive — tops — of each other.
For instance, if you’re a hard-core Niners fan, you probably couldn’t care less that the Raiders even exist. And vice-versa. Ditto the Giants-A’s dynamic. But the fact remains that it’s damn cool for any casual sports fan to have the myriad choices afforded them.
Same goes for the deliciously diverse, entertainingly animated and generally successful group of head men currently running their respective shows in Bay Area pro sports. With the exception of the Raiders with Dennis Allen, every team has a guy out front that would be snapped up by another team almost immediately should the current relationship come to a surprisingly sudden split.
So let’s take a moment to examine what we have, and appreciate these men for what they represent.
– Mychael Urban, San Francisco Examiner