Numerous reports, first hit by Bay Area Sports Guy, are telling us that the San Francisco 49ers agreed to terms on a 6-year contract extension with quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The deal is reported to have a maximum value of $126 million and a record $61 million in guaranteed money.
First things first, Jason LaCanfora is reporting the guaranteed money includes various "rolling guarantees". As has become the case, that basically means certain increments of money will be guaranteed if Kap is on the roster on a given date. That can be the first day of the league year (mid-March), April 1, or some other pre-determined date. There is no word on where injury, skill and cap guarantees fit into this. It's possible for money to be guaranteed for injury on one date, and then later become fully guaranteed.
Kap will turn 33 in the middle of the final season of this contract. Of course, this deal could end up very much like Tom Brady's contracts with the Patriots, where it is basically re-worked every few years to build out some cap space. The deal can average up to $21 million per year, but I'd imagine it is not just broken out at $21 million per year. Instead, we'll see various proration, bonuses and other assorted ways to set the deal. And then, I wouldn't be surprised if in three or four or five years, the two sides are re-working it.
As we wait for more firm details to emerge, one thing I'm waiting to see is if the deal includes any escalators or de-escalators. The 49ers know that Kap has a world of potential, but he is still working to reach his full potential. With this deal, have the 49ers bet firmly that he will reach it, or have they left themselves a bit of a safety gap in case Kap doesn't quite reach his full potential? A deal this complicated is going to have all sorts of things mixed in.
And that's one of the big stories to take away from this. In this new era of the rookie wage scale, this is a first of its kind contract. Kap is the first player to emerge from an artificially suppressed rookie contract and blow the doors off the establishment with his next contract. He's not the first 2011 draft pick to sign a new deal, but he's the one people will remember. Cam Newton will be the next one up, but then we'll see guys like Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III getting their money. It's going to be a wild couple of years as these contracts are handed out.