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49ers salary cap: Big money at QB

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The San Francisco 49ers have invested a sizable chunk of money in their quarterback position. We take a look at Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert and what kind of money is involved.

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The San Francisco 49ers are a little over three weeks away from the start of training camp. We just wrapped up a look at the 49ers bubble watch, position-by-position. Now, I thought we would take a look at the salary cap information for each position. Jason Hurley put together the tables with cap information for each position, and I have added some thoughts as well.

Before we get into the details, a brief explanation of the table. The first number is the player's cap number for 2015. The second is remaining fully guaranteed money on their deal. The third and fourth are dead money and cap savings this year if a player is released before the end of the season. The final two columns are for players released next offseason, but not as a June 1 cut.

I will also occasionally reference positional spending since that can sometimes provide a little bit of context for a given position. I am getting that information from the positional spending page at Over The Cap. This references the amount of cap space devoted to a given position. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments.

Player 2015 Cap Number Gtd Money 2015 Dead $$ 2015 Cap Savings 2016 Dead $$ (Pre-6/1) 2016 Cap Savings (Pre-6/1)
Colin Kaepernick $15,265,753 $20,263,012 $12,865,853 $2,400,000 $7,397,259 $9,368,494
Blaine Gabbert $1,750,000 $500,000 $250,000 $1,500,000 $250,000 $2,000,000
Dylan Thompson $438,333 $20,000 $13,333 $425,000 $6,667 $521,666

Colin Kaepernick

We've discussed plenty about Colin Kaepernick's contract. This year is the first year his contract really climbs under his new deal. He had a 2014 cap figure of $3,767,444 last year, and this year it shoots up to $15,265,753. It will continue to climb each of the next three seasons, climbing $1.5 million next year, $2.6 million in 2017, and $500,000 in 2018. It then drops $665,000 in 2019, and jumps $2.2 million in 2020.

The big deal for him is the rolling guarantees in his contract. He has injury guarantees for his full salary this year through 2017, but the salaries become fully guaranteed if he is on the 49ers roster on April 1 of the given year. He is not going anywhere at this point, but the 2015 season is certainly a big one for seeing how he develops. If he continues to improve, the deal will prove to be a bargain. There would be re-negotiating for cap space, but in terms of pure value, the long-term extension would have worked out well.

However, if he settles into what we saw last year, it will start to create some questions. Opinions vary, but what we saw last year was some nebulous area. He showed some good things, he showed some bad things. It was not $100 million good by any stretch, but not, "we're going to cut you" bad. That would be where renegotiations could also happen. Given the rolling guarantees (something the 49ers frequently do), it will be something to track every season. It makes every year "a big year" so to speak.

Blaine Gabbert

The 49ers doubled down on Gabbert this offseason, signing him to a two-year deal. The team acquired Gabbert a year ago as he entered the final year of his contract. He was earning just over $2 million on that deal. His new deal pays him $1.45 million and $1.75 million in base salary each of the next two seasons. He also got a $500,000 signing bonus, $50,000 in total workout bonuses, and $200,000 in roster bonus money for 2016.

The $500,000 in signing bonus money seems to indicate the team is fine with him as their backup in 2015. His roster spot is up in there after that, but for this coming season, you'll need to get yourself used to the idea of Gabbert as the backup. Of course, no matter whom the backup is, if the 49ers have to go to that player for more than mop-up duty, something has gone very wrong.

At this point, the team would seem content to roll with Kap, Gabbert and Thompson as their primary three quarterbacks in training camp. We could see Blake Bell get some time as well, although there is no word on that quite yet.

League spending

The New Orleans Saints lead the NFL with $28,193,292 in cap space devoted to the quarterback position. The Tennessee Titans bring up the rear at $3,551,279, but does not yet reflect Marcus Mariota's contract, as he has not signed a deal. The Seattle Seahawks are next on this list, and it is safe to say that number could be changing just a little bit. It will be fascinating to see what happens if and when the Seahawks and Wilson get a deal done.

The biggest number that is interesting to me belongs to the Kansas City Chiefs. They actually rank third in the league with $21,476,940 in 2015 cap space dedicated to the position. Alex Smith has a cap figure of $15.6 million, while Chase Daniel clocks in at $4.8 million. That explains a lot right there.