The 49ers and Colin Kaepernick did not take long to come to an agreement on a new contract. Kaepernick and the 49ers agreed today on a 6-year deal that will reportedly pay the 26 year old QB up to $126 million with $60 million guaranteed. The popular reaction to the news is that the 49ers over paid for a QB who has failed to make the needed plays in in the Super Bowl and NFC Championship Game the last two years. That is the lazy argument. The fact that those making this argument continually gloss over is that those failures came in the Super Bowl and NFC Championship in consecutive seasons. Aside from the Ravens and Seahawks, any other fan base would love to say their team went that far the last two seasons. The facts is, the 49ers did the right thing by locking up Kaepernick for the next 6 seasons, even if it did come at a heft price. And this is why:
1. If the 49ers had not “show him the money” another team would have. I am sorry if you think the 49ers could have waited until after this season to resign him. The fact is he would have cost even more then because you would have other teams bidding for his services. Half of the NFL is looking either covertly or overtly for a new QB every year. His recent playoff shortcomings notwithstanding Kaepernick is a valuable asset at the most valuable position in the NFL. To not think that the Eagles, the Vikings, the Cardinals, the Rams, the Jets, the Raiders, etc. would not have pursued him and ran up the price tag is naïve at best. If you look at the current QB market in the NFL, the 49ers did not significantly over pay to keep Colin Kaepernick.
2. Alex Smith was not, is not and will never be the guy. Enough of the 49ers should have kept Alex Smith talk. They guy put together one respectful season, finally, after years and years of awfulness. He reached his max potential under Jim Harbaugh and his ceiling was and is much lower than Kaepernick. Kaepernick has already left Smith in the dust as far as level of QB play. If you think Kaepernick’s numbers against the Seahawks the last two years are bad, add a half dozen more sacks, fumbles, and interceptions and you would have Smith’s numbers. He is not great under pressure either and name one game that he won for the Chiefs last year. The Chiefs won games because they played an easy schedule, had a solid defense and Alex Smith didn’t screw it up.
3. If not Kaepernick then who? Even if you disagree with Alex Smith’s departure from the 49ers that is a done deal. He is not coming back. He has found a new home with the Chiefs. If the 49ers were to let Kaepernick go what then? Go another decade with no NFL level QB and waste the remaining careers of the 49er defensive players, Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree? It is easy to say they should let him walk but it is much harder to say who they should replace him with. The new contract is a risk, a big one, but all contract negotiations are a risk to some degree.
4. The pressure is now on the Seahawks, Colts, Redskins, Panthers, Chiefs and Bengals. Alex Smith, Cam Newton and Any Dalton are looking for new deals this year and Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin and Russell Wilson will be in a year. The Kaepernick deal will be closely examined by these teams, the players and their agents to determine the value of these quarterbacks. Rest assured Wilson’s agent will be arguing that the Seahawks should give Wilson more money over more years to stay ahead of Kaepernick. After all, Wilson does have a Super Bowl ring, Kaepernick and the rest of these guys do not. The 49ers are going to be hard pressed to keep their current roster intact over the next few years by paying Kaepernick so much but the Seahawks will face the same problem with Wilson. Both teams have benefited from having quarterbacks with cheap rookie deals. The Seahawks will soon be in the same position.
5. Closure. Now that they have extended Kaepernick the 49ers can return their focus to the maintenance of the rest of the roster. It is going to be an up hill battle to keep this current roster intact after this season but at least the 49ers now know the financial parameters they have to work with.
The new contract is a risk but the 49ers now know that their QB of the present is the QB of the future. NFL QBs are not running backs. They are not interchangeable parts and plugging in a new QB every two years does not work. The 49ers did the right thing in paying and locking up Colin Kaepernick.
Posted by Hatch