One thing that excites me about our current 49ers team is the potential dynasty implications. We've had two great years, but how long can it last? Pundits will say we are setup for the next decade, but that is impossible to predict. Too many variables, and too much "reloading" will be required for us to look that far out.
Realistically, next year's draft class will be under contract through the 2017 season. It will be another large draft class, currently with at least 5 picks in the first 3 rounds. I am assuming we get some good talent. In addition, if they play out their current contracts, we also have Navarro Bowman, Ahmad Brooks, both of our offensive tackles, and punter Andy Lee locked up for this same window. We will resign many of our existing players between now and then, we just don't know which ones yet. For those that we do not resign, the FO has already drafted a number of replacements.
I summarized recent FO moves in an earlier fanpost, which Fooch helped publicize for a great discussion (thanks Fooch!). Here is the link: 49er's 3 Year Outlook
The priority going into next off-season, assuming he continues to improve in 2013, will be Colin Kaepernick. We looked at the quarterback market, and believe there is a win-win contract extension that locks Colin up through at least 2018. The cap number will average in the 15M-18M range. We are letting Paraag work out the details, but here is the discussion: Colin Kaepernick's Next Contract
OK, so if you were building a team, how would you do it? Quarterback first? Assuming we sign Colin, check. Left Tackle next? Already done. Check. Pass Rusher? OK, Aldon is up next.
Aldon is signed through 2014, but since he is a first round pick, the team has an option to extend his contract for a 5th year. Assuming another good year, I believe the team will do this. The extension has to be at the end of the 3rd season, so we will know after this year if its going to happen. If it does happen, Aldon will be paid the average of the top 10 salaries at the position. Since he plays two positions, OLB and DE, it will be the position he plays the most that sets his price. Worst case scenario is that he is classified as a DE. If this happens the 2015 extension will cost about 13M, but this could change as the top players sign new contacts. Here are the top DE's by sacks:
And the top sacking LBs for comparison:
For calculation purposes, I believe ILBs and OLBs are grouped together, but I am assuming OLBs will drive the top salaries.
Beyond 2015, it is difficult to predict the pass rusher market. The 2011 draft may go down as one of the greatest pass rushing drafts of all time. JJ Watt, Von Miller and Aldon lead the league plus Robert Quinn, Ryan Kerrigan, Cameron Jordan, and Justin Houston all had at least 8 sacks last year. All these people will be vying for new contracts at the same time Aldon is (or sooner if they are not extended). We also have a number of veteran players that will be up for renewal before 2016. On top of all this, the market may be correcting itself. Elvis Dumervil hit the market late due to his contract snafu, but he was forced to take what seems like a team friendly deal for Baltimore. Jared Allen, DeMarcus Ware, and Julius Peppers all have pre-CBA deals.
Green Bay seems to be the closest comparison to the Niners, in terms of how the FO thinks. Clay Matthew's deal seems in line with what we will want to pay. Worst case scenario, we will extend Aldon for 2015 and then franchise him for 2016. If he qualifies at a LB instead of as a DE, then his 2015 salary will be lower and then even a second franchise tag may make sense.
The Niners will be able to begin negotiations after this season, but if we extend Aldon's contract for a 5th year then it may make sense to wait. We still have cap constraints in 2014, so we may not want a signing bonus to kick in until after the 2014 season.
OK nation, what do you think?