49ers salary cap: The three best contracts

Jeff Zelevansky

The 49ers have done a good job at massaging the salary cap. We take a look at their three best contracts.

Earlier this week, Jason LaCanfora put together a pair of articles looking at the best and worst deals in the NFL. As would be expected, the 49ers strongly populated the best contracts list, and were fairly limited in the worst contracts list.

LaCanfora's best deals list included Colin Kaepernick, Joe Staley, Alex Boone, Mike Iupati and Aldon Smith. Kaepernick, Smith and Iupati are no surprise given their rookie contracts. Staley and Boone are examples of the great work the 49ers have done in locking up their young talent. Staley has been a constantly improving offensive lineman, but getting him locked up in 2009 was one of the smartest decisions by the 49ers front office. The same holds true for Boone, as the 49ers had plans for him when they made this move.

Given LaCanfora's article, I thought we'd take a look at some of the best and worst contracts just on the 49ers. Today we'll look at three of the best contracts, and tomorrow we'll take a look at three of the worst contracts.

1. Alex Boone, Right Guard

Boone has a cap figure of $1.94 million. That includes a base salary of approximately $1.6 million, and a prorated signing bonus figure of $340,000. Boone also has affordable cap figures in the future. In 2014, his cap figure is $1.74 million and in 2015, his cap figure is $1.99 million.

Boone has developed into a top notch RG in short order. The 49ers rolled the dice with him this past year and it paid great dividends. Given the previous uncertainty next to Anthony Davis, one could argue this was a big part of Davis's strong development this past season. It will be interesting in a few years how the 49ers handle Boone's contract. If Boone keeps up his work at guard, and hits free agency after the 2015 season, it will be interesting to see what kind of deal he gets. Not too shabby for the former undrafted free agent.

2. Colin Kaepernick, Quarterback

The 49ers young quarterback has a 2013 cap figure of $1,400,535. This includes a base salary of $840,844. In 2014, Kaepernick is looking at a salary cap figure of $1,633,457 in 2014, with a base salary of $1,073,766. His deal includes $559,691 in prorated money remaining for both 2013 and 2014 seasons. Given how big rookie quarterback contracts have been in the past, and the fact the 49ers were able to get him in the second round instead of the first, and it's a real bargain.

It's only been half a season of starting, but Kap looks like the real deal, making this current deal all the more impressive. Of course, soon the 49ers will have to pay the piper. The CBA dictates the 49ers cannot start renegotiating a new deal with Kap until after the 2013 season. When that happens, he is progressing toward a top 10 QB deal, if not higher in the stratosphere. If the 49ers want to keep Kap, they'll need to figure out what that new contract will look like. Maybe it's a big $100 million deal like we're seeing, or maybe it is a little shorter in the $65 million range. These are just a couple numbers, but we'll see plenty of numbers thrown around once 2013 wraps.

3. Joe Staley, Left Tackle

The 49ers offensive line anchor has a 2013 cap figure of $2.8 million, which is all salary, no bonus. In fact, his entire remaining deal contains non-guaranteed base salaries, $500,000 roster bonuses, and $200,000 workout bonuses.

When Staley signed his extension, he originally got a big deal that contained a $10 million plus roster bonus. So eventually I figure Staley will want an extension, with more upfront money. Staley is signed through the 2017 season, but given where contracts are at for offensive tackles, one has to wonder if he'll want a new deal sooner rather than later. There has been no sabre rattling on this front, but it is something to keep in mind as we move forward. Staley has emerged as a great left tackle, and if he can keep up the consistency, we'll see what the future brings.

So there you have it. Those are the top three value contracts on the 49ers roster as I see it. I put them in that order, primarily based on the idea that Boone at right guard seems more likely to get a bit more reasonable a next contract compared to Kap, who is at a premium position where he could break the bank.

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