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If 49ers can't retain Tarell Brown, Donte Whitner, it won't be Colin Kaepernick's fault

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Colin Kaepernick is due a big contract extension, but it won't be at the expense of Tarell Brown and Donte Whitner.

Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

We can't say enough about the potential changes the San Francisco 49ers are facing in the secondary. We've written about it a ton over the past couple days, and that's because there's so many layers to the possibilities that are coming up. All of Tarell Brown, Carlos Rogers and Donte Whitner could end up elsewhere in 2014. It's just about the biggest concern the 49ers have to address going forward.

The reason I use the phrase "just about" is pretty simple: franchise quarterback Colin Kaepernick needs a contract extension. Kaepernick will play out the final year of his rookie contract in 2014, and if the 49ers wait to extend him, he's going to cost an awful lot more, provided he has a solid season.

When it comes to a potential deal, the numbers we're dealing with are staggering. Next season he could cost over $20 million per year, while right now he's reportedly asking for $18 million and would likely settle for less. But if they pay him that and he doesn't progress, that's a lot of wasted money. But, again, waiting simply means he'll probably cost more later.

San Francisco's books look good for the foreseeable future and they'll likely have the space and the front office chops to get Kaepernick signed to the kind of deal they want. But one thing I've been seeing recently is talk about Brown and Whitner potentially being unattainable to the 49ers due to the impending Kaepernick deal.

I don't think that's even close to being the case. Brown and Whitner are going to cost a decent amount of money to bring back, that's for sure. The 49ers don't have all the cap space in the world. But what they do have is this: a set value for both Whitner and Brown that will probably be exceeded by another club and that the 49ers will not exceed out of desperation.

If Brown or Whitner become too expensive, it won't be because the 49ers had that money earmarked for Kaepernick. It will be because they know what they want to pay for those guys and they don't want to put themselves into a bad position by overpaying.

They pay what they feel is right, they draft guys where they want to and if Trent Baalke has shown anything at all over the past few years, it's that he's pretty good at establishing backup plans and finding unexpected value in free agency.