San Francisco 49ers

49ers, Kaepernick reps rekindle contract talks

The 49ers, who on Sunday received enough salary-cap relief to accommodate a contract extension for Colin Kaepernick, are wasting no time rekindling discussions with the quarterback's representatives. According to a source close to the situation, the two sides will meet this week in Santa Clara.

This is believed to be the first face-to-face meeting between the team's chief contract negotiator, Paraag Marathe, and XAM Sports' representatives since the sides dined at a popular Indianapolis steakhouse during the scouting combine in February.

That the two sides are meeting again suggests the 49ers are convinced that nothing will come from the City of Miami Police investigation that involves Kaepernick and two other players. That investigation began April 3 and created a lull in contract talks between the two sides. It is ongoing but is expected to be resolved this month.

Team officials, in particular coach Jim Harbaugh, have said that Kaepernick did nothing wrong. "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."

The 49ers also now have the salary-cap space to move forward with a contract that almost certainly will make Kaepernick the highest paid 49er and that could be one of the most lucrative in the league.

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. The team gained another $2.6 million in cap space last month when all-pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman converted a portion of his base salary into a signing bonus.

Bowman's restructure allowed the 49ers to sign their 12 draft picks. They currently are about $8 million below the salary cap heading into the season. That's enough to accommodate the initial cap hit on a new deal for Kaepernick. General manager Trent Baalke has said he'd like to have the deal completed by the start of training camp, which this year is July 23.

The 49ers have several other young players they'd like to hang onto with deals, and they likely will press that point with Kaepernick's agents. Harbaugh, meanwhile, said in March that he felt Kaepernick deserved to be paid the market rate, which when considering recent deals for the Cowboys' Tony Romo and the Bears' Jay Cutler, is at least $18 million a season.

"There's really no one that competes with him in a workout situation,” Harbaugh said. “He will bury everybody. And then when somebody tries to compete with him, he ramps his competitiveness up, and somebody's over their knee throwing up. He's unbelievable. So you can tell I feel he's a great player, a high priority."

Also in March, Baalke said negotiations soon would enter a new, more specific phase. Instead, the Miami investigation began and talks stalled.

Kaepernick, meanwhile, would make less than $1 million in base salary in 2014 absent an extension. Is he eager to see one completed? “Once again, I’ll just let my agents handle that,” he said last week. “And I’m playing football, regardless.”

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