Earlier this week, the San Francisco 49ers signed Daniel Kilgore to a 3-year contract extension that keeps him in town through 2017. This offseason marks the first time a team can re-negotiate a contract for a 2011 draft pick. During negotiations for the new CBA, owners wanted to slow down the process of young players asking for new deals. The two sides agreed to impose a three-season wait, and here we are, three seasons later (crazy that it's been that long since the lockout!).
The deals have not been coming furiously across the league, with Daniel Kilgore only the third overall player to get such a new deal done. He joins Raiders special teamer Taiwan Jones and Eagles center Jason Kelce as the first to do this. It is worth noting the 49ers signed 2011 rookie Ian Williams to a new deal a year ago, but as a UDFA, I believe he only signed a 3-year contract.
The San Francisco 49ers have five remaining players from what was originally an 11-player draft class (not including UDFAs). We know Ronald Johnson, Colin Jones, Mike Person and Curtis Holcomb will not be doing any deals with the 49ers, but that class still turned out very strong. The remaining members after Kilgore include Aldon Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Chris Culliver and Kendall Hunter.
Smith is unlikely to get a new deal right away because the 49ers can exercise their fifth year team option. That gives them an extra year to work out a new deal, and they can see how his recovery process is going. If they think he is on the straight and narrow, they have time to get something figured out. They could potentially get it a little cheaper now, but I think it's responsible to wait and see how it goes.
The 49ers have begun negotiations with Colin Kaepernick, and the early indication is that they're off to a solid start. That will be a slightly complicated deal to figure out, so I am not holding my breath for anything in the coming days. We're talking about a guy with as much physical talent as anybody, but he is still working through the development process. What kind of valuation do you place on that?
The most likely next new contract would seem to be Bruce Miller. The two sides have reportedly had some preliminary negotiations. Given the market for fullbacks, and the way the position is slowly going away as the league gets more pass happy, I could see a deal getting done fairly soon. We haven't heard much about it, so we'll see how much longer that one take.
That leaves Kendall Hunter and Chris Culliver. Both have had tough injuries the last two years. Culliver tore his ACL last summer, and Hunter tore his Achilles the previous November. It is not surprising the 49ers would want to see how Culliver returns from his ACL tear. Hunter put together some solid contributions last season, averaging 4.6 yards per carry, but I have to think his contributions were a bit less in light of the Achilles tear. He had 78 carries. The season before he had 72 before the injury, and in his rookie season he had 112. With Marcus Lattimore entering the picture this year, who knows how much work he'll get.
I think Miller is the easy call on the next contract, but of Culliver and Hunter, do you see either getting a new deal with the 49ers?