File this under least surprising news of the day. On Tuesday, Trent Baalke spoke with media at the owners' meetings, and he stated that the team was hoping to get a contract extension done with Colin Kaepernick before training camp starts in late July.
"We're going to work extremely hard, very diligently in trying to get something done prior to training camp. That's the objective right now, as it stands."
That's not exactly surprising news. The interesting news to come out of this was Baalke saying the two sides have spoken thus far in general terms, but they will soon move into specifics, with formal proposals starting to change hands.
Thus far we've heard speculation about Kap wanting $18 million or $20 million, or a host of other random bits of speculation. In moving to specific proposals, we can probably expect to hear information start to leak out that gives us a better idea of the 49ers perceived position. I say perceived because any leaks are likely coming from people with something to gain from getting the information out there. It doesn't mean Kap will want X, or the 49ers will only give up Y. Rather, it just gives us some positioning from which both sides will work.
There are advantages to getting a deal done now, and getting a deal done later. Kap's next contract is going to dictate exactly what kind of money the 49ers have available for other contracts. Getting it done now might sting a little, but it clears the picture up considerably. On the other hand, the 49ers have the option of riding out Kap's rookie deal, and franchising him in 2015. That opens up 2014 cap space to spend on other extensions, and they know they get Kap for at least one more year beyond his rookie deal, and likely two with a second franchising.
For Kap, getting a deal done now gets him a whole lot of guaranteed money. If he gets hurt in 2014, that would be pretty huge. On the other hand, if he is confident in his ability to stay healthy and take the next step, he either guarantees himself the franchise tag, or is able to negotiate an even bigger contract next year.
It will be an interesting four months between now and the start of training camp. We'll hear all sorts of stories from assorted local and national media. Some will be 100 percent true, some will be 100 percent false, most will be somewhere in the middle. I'm sure that at times there will be some angst, but it's just speed bumps toward getting something done. Paraag Marathe has spoken about franchise quarterbacks being one notable difference-maker in winning. The question now is how exactly the 49ers view Kap. My guess is they see a franchise quarterback, but these negotiations will give us a better idea.