Successful teams aren’t usually the focus of offseason controversy, but it seems the San Francisco 49ers are creating headlines at an alarming rate, this time with the rumored demands of Colin Kaepernick, a full time starting quarterback for just one season, to become one of the highest paid in the NFL.
According to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, Kaepernick is eyeing contracts like the ones Jay Cutler and Tony Romo, both making $18 million a season with the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys, have. Only Kaepernick has only three years of NFL experience, and has basically been a starting quarterback for a season and a half.
But Kaepernick has been able to lead the 49ers to one Super Bowl and another conference championship game, so he probably knows he’s worth a lot more than the $973,766 he’ll be paid in 2014, the last of his rookie contract.
So where does this go to? As long as there’s speculation about the actual people that are building this team, Kaepernick’s negotiations will also be problematic. However, it doesn’t make sense for the 49ers to give him that kind of deal right now as an extension. Kaepernick is willing to play out this season for less money, knowing that a good one will give him even more leverage in negotiations after the 2014 season is over.
That makes a bit more sense for the 49ers, who might not be able to sign Kaepernick on a long term deal under the conditions they want for him right now. Another successful season for the 49ers (it’s arguable if it was actually a good one for Kaepernick) might force them to cave into his demands or possibly even use the franchise tag on him.
The question of whether or not to grant him his rather bold wishes can be split into two: Is he the reason the 49ers have been successful, or could they have done this well with a different quarterback? And whether or not there will be someone they’re happy with – from the draft or as a free agent, that can take his place for a much cheaper price a year from now.