The 49ers and Colin Kaepernick have reached agreement on a record-breaking six-year contract extension that will lock in the quarterback through the 2020 season. The two sides met all day Tuesday as well as today in Santa Clara. The deal is worth as much as $126 million, according to two sources who have seen the contract. The $61 million guarantee is the largest ever in NFL.
Kaepernick’s per-year average -- as much as $21 million -- puts him just behind Aaron Rodgers’ $22-million figure and shows how much the team believes in the 26-year-old quarterback. It’s also further proof that the team believes nothing will come of the investigation in Miami involving Kaepernick and two other players. That case, which began in April 3, is resting on test results that police expect back sometime this month.
Team officials, in particular coach Jim Harbaugh, have strongly supported Kaepernick throughout. “I feel very good there’ll be a good resolution, and hopefully a just one, too,” Harbaugh said in April. “I hate to see his reputation be the victim.”
“Colin’s hard work and dedication have played an integral role in the recent success of the 49ers organization,” general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. “His work ethic, leadership and on-field production have positively influenced our team, and we look forward to his continued growth in all areas.
“Our organization always looks to reward our players for their contributions and commitment to the team. Colin’s agents, Scott Smith and Jason Bernstein, along with Paraag Marathe and Brian Hampton, should be commended for working diligently to reach an agreement.”
On Sunday, the 49ers received a $6.6 million boost to their cap surplus when former cornerback Carlos Rogers’ 2014 salary was wiped off the books. That allowed the 49ers to begin thinking about finalizing a deal for Kaepernick, who led the team to the Super Bowl in 2012 and to the NFC Championship game last year.
Harbaugh, team owner Jed York and general manager Trent Baalke all have said that locking down Kaepernick long term is a priority for the team, and Baalke had said he’d like to have the deal completed by the start of training camp on July 23.
The 49ers have several other young players – guard Mike Iupati, wide receiver Michael Crabtree and perhaps linebacker Aldon Smith – they’d like to lock in for the long-term, and their challenge moving forward will be to balance the quarterback’s deal with a talented roster at other positions.