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Can 49ers let Kaep go after 2014?

6/5/2014

As typically is the case when a quarterback signs a huge deal, the six-year contract extension reportedly worth up to $126 million that Colin Kaepernick signed on Wednesday likely will never result in him getting paid that full amount. In fact, Kaepernick's deal reportedly has plenty of hoops through which he'll have to jump, as well as outs for the Niners.



"[O]nly $13.073 million is guaranteed at signing. It comes in the form of a $12.328 million signing bonus, a base salary of $645,000, and a workout bonus of $100,000," noted Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com.

"For 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and part of 2018, the base salaries are guaranteed only for injury. On April 1 of each year, the guarantees convert from injury only to fully guaranteed. That gives the 49ers the ability to decide, in any given year, to move on from Kaepernick."

There also are a series of annual salary de-escalators in his contract related to making the Super Bowl and/or All-Pro team, as well as per-game roster bonuses. Furthermore, he has to purchase a disability policy that will pay the 49ers $20 million if he suffers a career-ending injury.

The essence of the new deal is that it appears to be relatively merit-based. If Kaepernick matures into the star the Niners hope he can become, he'll get paid as such. If he doesn't live up to the hype, the team can step away from his contract any time after the 2014 campaign.