This offseason Colin Kaepernick is eligible to rework his contract so that he can get a raise. He is well-deserving of a raise but just how much of a raise is the question? The NFL has recently begun to overpay mediocre quarterbacks due to a lack of talent at the position.
Kapernick already has four playoff victories on his resume. That is more than Jay Cutler, Matthew Stafford, and Tony Romo combined. All of them have at least $50 million in guaranteed money in their contracts. So should the San Francisco 49ers make Kapernick a $50 million quarterback?
While Kapernick’s career is off to a great start, paying him that much money could be a problem. For starters, last season he completed just 58% of his passes. That is not a horrible number but certainly you want it to be around 63% or better. He also at times still struggles through his progressions. Many analysts and recently even Joe Montana lamented at Kaepernick’s lack of ability from the pocket. If a player wants to be paid at the highest level, his weakness cannot be where he is expected to do the majority of his work.
The other factor in paying Kaepernick anywhere near the $50 million guaranteed is what it does to the structure of the team. Anquan Boldin is a free agent and he will not be looking to take a huge pay cut from the six million he made last season. Even if the team finds a way to bring Boldin back, the team still needs a receiver that can create separation on a consistent basis.
Aldon Smith is going into the last year of his rookie deal and he will be looking for a sizeable extension as well. Safety Donte Whitner is a free agent. Whatever moves the team plans to make this offseason hinge on how much they are willing to pay Kaepernick.
There is no easy solution to this problem. The team could play hardball and have him play out the final year of his rookie contract. This would give them more leeway in the free agent market, but no one knows for certain how Kaepernick would handle that. Would his contract situation become a problem?
Jim Harbaugh just needs to look at his brother’s team and see how overpaying a quarterback can affect everything a team does. The 49ers need to weigh all their options and go slowly through this process. All franchise quarterbacks are not created equal; they just all seem to get paid same.
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