Breaking Down the Kaepernick Deal

USATSI_7424891_160074578_lowresAfter weeks of discussion the San Francisco 49ers finally reached an agreement to lock in their franchise quarterback Colin Kaernick for the forseeable future. The deal hands Kaepernick nearly $126 million over 6 years, but as is usually the case these days – contain plenty of “ifs”. We’ll take a look at the details here.

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 8.55.20 AMIn 2014
Kaepernick receives a $12.328 million signing bonus, + a base salary of $645,000 and a workout bonus of $100,000. This means $13.073 million in upfront cash, a $12.1 million increase from the $973,766 he was set to earn in from his previous contract. The salary and signing bonus are fully guaranteed. His cap figure for 2014 increases from $1,630,457 to $3,767,291.

In 2015
he’ll receive a $12.4 million base salary that as of now is guaranteed for injury only. The salary becomes fully guaranteed on April 1, 2015. In addition Kaepernick will earn $125,000 for each game he’s active, for a combined $2 million likely to be earned roster bonus. He’ll also receive a $400,000 workout bonus for attending offseason training. His cap figure for 2015 is now $17,265,000, the 15th highest in the NFL.

In 2016
he’ll receive a $13.9 million base salary that also doesn’t fully guarantee until April 1, 2016. Once again he earns $125,000 per active game and a $400,000 workout bonus. His cap figure for 2016 is now $18.765,600, 9th highest in the NFL as of now.

In 2017
he’ll receive a $16 million base salary that fully guarantees on April 1, 2017. Once again he earns $125,000 per active game and a $400,000 workout bonus. His cap figure for 2017 is $21,365,600.

In 2018
he’ll receive a $17 million base salary, but only $5.2 million fully guarantees on April 1, 2018. Once again he earns $125,000 per active game and a $400,000 workout bonus. His cap figure for 2018 is $21,865,600.

Kaepernick has non-guaranteed base salaries of $18.8 million and $21 million in 2019, 2020 respectively, going along with the $2 million in per game bonuses, and $400,000 workout bonuses. He holds cap figures of $21.2 million and $23.4 million in his final seasons (unlikely to stand).

Guaranteed Money
In terms of guaranteed money just the 2014 salary, signing bonus, and for all intents and purposes workout bonus stand on the books upfront. April 1st becomes his trigger date in 2015-2018, when additional salary fully guarantees. The per game bonus saves the 49ers should Kaepernick miss a few weeks here and there, but the real IF comes in terms of a de-escalator.

The contract contains a $12 million de-escalator clause that could drop Kaepernick’s base salary by $2 million each from 2015-2020. He can avoid this
decrease by playing in 80% of the 49ers snaps AND either taking the team to the Super Bowl or becoming a 1st or 2nd team All-Pro. This incentive exists each year. His performance in 2014 will directly affect his salary in 2015, and so forth. This is a unique component to a maximum contract, and one that could become leveraged more with the “running quarterback” become prevelant in the league again.

The final piece to the puzzle is a $20 million disability policy that the 49ers will force Kaepernick to purchase should he suffer a career-ending injury at any point of the deal. While this seems like legal symantics, it’s another smart component by the 49ers based on the skillset of their quarterback.

How Does This Rank

This is indeed, a maximum extension.


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Article by: Michael Ginnitti

Managing Editor of Spotrac