49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was scheduled to fulfill the final year of his rookie contract this season. It would have paid him a little more than $1 million. Well, the team has attached that money to a brand-new, fat contract for the 26-year-old QB.
A team source tells Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area that Kaepernick has agreed to a six-year extension that will keep him in San Fran through the 2020 campaign. The cost of the new deal: As much as $126 million with $61 million guaranteed.
It's not the richest contract in terms of annual average value, but that guaranteed-money figure is a new benchmark. If it is indeed around $61 million as has been reported, it would exceed the $58 million guaranteed to Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.
Update: ProFootballTalk.com reports that Kaepernick's deal is actually a year-to-year contract with "only" about $13 million guaranteed at signing. Barring injury, the rest of the base-salary money isn't guaranteed until April 1 of each year from 2015-18. So, if the 49ers want to release Kaepernick before the 2015 or 2016 season, for example, they can do so before April 1 of that year without a lingering financial obligation.
But hey, money is money. Can Kaepernick be worth it? Yes, especially with the additions the Niners have brought into their offense. The receiving corps has four very dependable targets in Michael Crabtree , Stevie Johnson , Anquan Boldin , and tight end Vernon Davis . They also have a couple of very capable backs in Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter and a couple of high-upside youngsters in Marcus Lattimore and Carlos Hyde. Simply, the Niners are loaded on offense. As the team sort of weans itself off of leaning on Gore, more responsibility should be given to Kaepernick to make plays. If they are going to pay him this much, they better focus the offense around him. This dual threat can be a top-five fantasy quarterback if he lives up to the even-loftier expectations.