After many months of speculation and debate, quarterback Colin Kaepernick inked a six-year, $126 million contract with the San Francisco 49ers today — with an NFL record $61 million guaranteed.
While this gives the 49ers continuity at the position, especially given Kaepernick’s aim at receiving a long-term deal, this is definitely a questionable move by San Francisco’s front office.
The former Nevada product showed flashes of brilliance when he took over for then-49ers starter Alex Smith in Week 10 of the 2012 season, utilized his excellent athleticism to lead San Francisco to the Super Bowl, where they lost to the Baltimore Ravens in a very tightly contested contest.
San Francisco did very well in 2013 in Kaepernick’s first full campaign as a starter, posting a 12-4 record behind one of the best defenses in the league. Although for Kaepernick, even though he still performed pretty well last season, he did have a regression when compared to his excellent 2012 season.
Two of the major concerns for Kaepernick when it comes to fundamentals is his inconsistency when making throws inside the pocket, his almost unwillingness to do so at times, and that he rarely goes through all of his progressions.
Kaepernick has relied on Michael Crabtree a lot throughout his brief career, and he has struggled in games when Crabtree was either ineffective or injured. He definitely needs to improve that aspect of his game in particular if he wants to become an elite quarterback long term.
As for his contract, the guaranteed money he received is obscene, and as of now he is not even close to deserving that amount. He is only entering his third full year as a starter, but I have more of an issue with his level of play. As I have said throughout, Kaepernick is not an elite quarterback yet, and who knows if he will ever fully reach that elite status.
In fact, an alternative to giving Kaepernick his major contract is possibly trading him if his demands for big money became more pronounced throughout this season. He would have certainly been a good addition to a team if he was on the trade market for teams that have a hole to fill at quarterback, but with his contract, that puts an end to that possibility.
The 49ers are obviously in great shape right now, but when it gets around to 2017, 2018, et cetera, San Francisco will be regretting this contract.