USA TODAY Sports
As the 49ers consider their 2012 free agency options, there are plenty of players to consider for contract extensions in the coming years. We take a look at a few of them.
The new collective bargaining agreement following the 2011 lockout included a variety of give and take, with certain things sacrificed for gains elsewhere. One group that was sacrificed to a certain extent were incoming players. A rookie cap was implemented, and restrictions were placed on when players could re-do their contracts. This potentially meant more money for veterans, while also removing holdouts in the early part of a rookie contract.
As the 49ers prepare for 2013 free agency, and extend various players to make additional cap room, they will also need to look to 2014 and beyond. The 49ers have quite a few talented young players that are going to be worth extending now or in the near future. They are not able to yet extend players from the 2011 and 2012 draft classes, but they are able to work out extensions with earlier drafted players.
Here are a few of the players that could find themselves with contract extensions over the next year or two.
Eligible for extension now
WR Michael Crabtree - Michael had a huge year, surpassing 1,000 yards, and adding in a great post season. He showed up in big moments, and has shown he was worth that 10th pick.
LG Mike Iupati - Iupati was an All Pro and a Pro Bowler this year, and is looking like a premier left guard. It makes a whole lot of sense to extend Iupati sooner rather than later..
RT Anthony Davis - Davis has taken time to develop, but he took a big step forward in 2012. He probably isn't at the top of the list, but he should be a priority.
Eligible for extension next year
QB Colin Kaepernick - Colin showed up after many in the media thought benching Alex Smith was the wrong move. Well, they were terribly wrong. Kaepernick showed he was ready for the spotlight, and he shined.
OLB Aldon Smith - Aldon has had two great seasons. 35 sacks in two years is an historically great achievement, especially in his first 2 seasons. He is one of the young premier pass rushers.
CB Chris Culliver - Some feel Culliver is our best CB. I think he may be out of place at CB, as he seems to get burned bad at points, and that really hurt us in the Super Bowl. However he is talented, and that warrants a new contract, but at what cost?
I have come across a couple of contract notes as well. Per my source, Colin Kaepernick has $100,000 in workout bonuses in 2013 and 2014, and LaMichael James has $50,000 workout bonuses in 2013-2015. These are fairly basic, but I still felt worth mentioning.