Colin Kaepernick Contract Extension Full Of Fluff

Details of the six-year contract extension signed on Wednesday by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick have now emerged and I thought I would pass them along being as so many people are concerned about how it might affect contract negotiations with Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

For starters, several reports indicate that Kaepernick only received a $12.328 million signing bonus. In addition, his $973,766 base salary that he was originally scheduled to earn in 2014 was lowered to $645,000. His $100,000 workout bonus that he was also already scheduled to earn, reportedly stays in place.

Being as Kaepernick still had $556,691 of amortization left over from his rookie contract signing bonus, his 2014 cap charge should come in at just over $3.767 million.

So what about the $61 million guaranteed?

According to Pro Football Talk, that’s a farce, just as I suspected it would be.

While $13.073 million was guaranteed at signing, Kaepernick’s base salaries in years 2015-2017 are only fully guaranteed for injury only. In addition, only $5.2 million of his 2018 base salary is guaranteed for injury only. Those injury guarantees reportedly work on a year-to-year basis and each year’s amount only becomes fully guaranteed on April 1 of that particular year.

Those injury only guaranteed base salaries total out at $48 million. Add the $13.073 million on to that, and there’s your supposed $61 million guaranteed. I feel compelled to add an LOL right here.

Here’s another kicker, per PFF. Kaepernick’s deal requires him to purchase, with after-tax dollars, a disability policy that pays the 49ers $20 million if he suffers a career-ending injury.

If that’s not enough fluff for you, Kaepernick’s contract can potentially de-escalate by $2 million per year. Here is the details as to how that works per PFF.

In each year from 2015 through 2020, however, there’s a catch. A big one. The total payout potentially de-escalates by $2 million per year, with up to $12 million potentially going away.

Kaepernick can halt the de-escalation by taking, in any year of the deal, 80 percent of the snaps and if:  (1) the 49ers appear in the Super Bowl; or (2) Kaepernick is named a first-team or second-team All-Pro.  If he satisfies the requirement in 2014, the full $12 million remains.  If he fails in 2014 but succeeds in 2015, $10 million stays.  If he does it for the first time in 2016, $8 million remains.  If he does it for the first time in 2017, $6 million stays — and so on until 2019, when if he satisfies the requirement that year for the first time $2 million stays in the deal for 2010.

We won’t get into the specifics of the rest of the contract as you can read it on PFF, but $2.4 million of the deal is tied to workout bonuses while another $12 million of the deal is tied to per game roster bonuses beginning in 2015. In other words, Kaepernick will lose $125,000 for every game that he misses from 2015-2020.

So, are you still worried about how this will affect Roethlisberger? The 49ers have a Rent-A-Kaepernick deal now in place with their quarterback and essentially only gave him $13.073 million guaranteed. If my math is right, Kaepernick has the potential to earn $139.073 million over the course of seven seasons, but we all know damn good and well that won’t happen. Sure, people can claim that this is an average yearly value of nearly $20 million over seven years, but it’s all fluff.

Rest easy, Steelers fans.


    Thanks Dave, great breakdown! Go Steelers and Big Ben!


    May your life be free from attorneys.

  • steeltown

    Wow… thanks Bryan

  • Virdin Barzey

    Very interesting….

  • Douglas Andrews

    Great breakdown Dave. Taking all that in your right it’s a rent a year QB that if he improves year to year fine but if not they can get out of this contract quickly. I bet the 49er’s were glad to get that deal signed and honestly it fits with the kind of QB play they have gotten from Kap. He been inconsistent at times. This deal IMO has no bearing on Big Ben’s contract extension.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    It’s actually a fair concept.

    Play great and get paid great. The structure is there for him to get paid what he wants for as long as he can remain healthy and productive. It’s basically a career deal and an interesting way to approach Ben for a final contract.

  • shawn

    Dave …u are reading way too much into this … besides the 12mil that is tied to being All Pro or reaching the Super Bowl + missing the occasional start he wil likely see ALMOST EVERY dime of this contract …. by my count it adds up to him missing about 2.5 mil a year at most ( and he will even get some of that as well) …. other than that he is getting all of it paid !!!

  • shawn

    it is an interesting concept … but I actually prefer that they offer Ben a fully Guaranteed Contract at closer to 15mil/+ yr to extend him through 2018 … less money but fully guaranteed … its a risky proposition i know … but i think a smart gamble … He’s a tough guy (never missed a full season yet .. like his chances) and he’s a competitor and definitely wants a couple more shots at a ring and selling him on the savings but guaranteed thus enabling the FO to upgrade the roster might just be a winning proposition !

  • Eric MacLaurin

    If he’s ready to start talking about discounts I’m all ears but the truth is I would rather pay more and know I don’t risk a 15 mil hit for someone who isn’t playing than to save a few million. One’s a minor annoyance but the other crushes the team, maybe for years.

  • shawn

    I am a numbers guy … and i go with odds … what do you think the odds are that Ben misses an entire year … or lets say an entire 2 years .. because thats what it would take to make up for the savings of 15 Mil a year ….

    You get the picture now ??

  • Eric MacLaurin

    The picture I get is that you don’t understand numbers as well as you think.

    Do you have any numbers you can quote or work you can show? It sounds like you are calling your intuition numbers because it’s a feeling you are having about a number. It doesn’t work that way.

  • shawn

    what are u talking about … do i really have to break it down …. what part of 22 mil is nearly 50% more than 15 mil that you dont understand … its not algebra … u act like u dont lose anything if he gets injured and the money is not guaranteed … oops … yup you still lose that money !! the only way u dont gain by this hypothetical scenario ( who knows if he would even accept) is if he pretty much got a career ending injury towards the beginning of the contract extension !

  • Eric MacLaurin

    Losing your ability to speak english isn’t going to hide the fact that you don’t understand math.

    Algebra is basic math not advanced math.

    I understand your point now. You think that he is going to make 15 mil guaranteed or 22 if it is dependant on staying healthy. The 7 million dollar difference is the basis for your entire argument and you didn’t mention it until I asked.

    You really think he will sign for 15 million instead of betting on his health for 22? I don’t. Unless you are talking about a 7 year deal in which case an injury could mean 5 years of a 15 million dollar dead money charge.

  • shawn

    It all depends on how much he values the guaranteed part … (many people think that is the only thing that counts ) look at my original post … i mention the “selling him hard part on taking the savings to get him added talent to go after more trophies which i do think he values more than a few extra million …

    Im obviously not in his head so i have no idea what he would do … and if i just went with common sense and look at the avg greedy NFL player I would tend to think he wouldnt …. but dont knock 5 yrs 80 mill or so guaranteed … not nothing to sneeze at … i think it would be very possible for him to accept 16mil or so if it was all guaranteed .. is it risky of course but it also could be a very shrewd move … he’s practically completed this contract and looks like he will be getting all of his money right … right ???

    BTW .. its write english not speak lol … and have u seen kids in school today ?? i would take issue with your algebra is not advanced math …

  • Eric MacLaurin

    I’m not trying to argue most of these points. I think 15 is fine. it’s the idea that he would get 50% more if he took the health risk.

    My only point was that I would rather pay an extra 2 or 3 million a year than risk several years with 15 mil in dead money. I’m not saying this because Ben is good or bad or because I have a theory that would hold even if the difference was 10 mil or 20 mil depending on who takes the risk. Only that 2 or 3 mil more per year would be worth not taking injury risk on that big a contract. I would rather go the guaranteed route if the difference was 7 mil.

  • shawn

    Got ya … of course i would rather pay 2-3 mil as well .. thats a no brainer .. i guess it depends on how much you could save … remember its not just against injury you are gambling against but poor performance as well.

    there was an article on how much the new crop of young QBs were going to get (Wilson, Luck, Newton etc) and believe it or not it is thought it might be around 23-24 mil/yr … so im thinking Ben is going to be around 22mil a year +/-

    If you actually look at the case of injury/poor performance for these top QBs and paid them fully guaranteed $$$ if you could save a substantial amount on a per year basis .. it would have worked out NEARLY EVERY time … (Drew Brees, Phillip Rivers, Big Ben, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rogers, Tom Brady, etc) I cant even think of one it wouldnt have worked out for …

    so its not really anywhere near the risk you think it is … remember that if i guy has one bad year or is even hurt one year like Peyton not having the $$$ guaranteed wouldnt have saved you any money … its only in scenarios where their careers are done where you save by not giving guaranteed which you can see by the above just doesnt seem to happen that much !

  • Eric MacLaurin

    If we agree about the 2-3 mil figure why would you assume we differ on the risk assessment?

    I don’t think there is a very big risk at all with Ben. That’s why 2-3 mil is all I would asume as compensation for which never side takes the risk. Collins has much more risk.

    Even with little injury risk there is always some. The question is how much is it worth on a yearly basis to insure we never have to take a 15+ mil hit. My objection was that even a small risk of 15+ per in dead money for several years is worth insuring against if you can do it for a couple mil per year.

  • shawn

    Agreed … we are on the same page … im just not familiar enough with contracts to know where that sweet spot would be ( how much lower we could get his yearly avg if we gave it FULLY Guaranteed) i would think it would be more than a couple mil obviously, but would it be as much as 6-7 mil i dont know … i think with that much discount he would need to be taking a little discount in favor of trying to WIN at the end of his career .. but lets face it a 5 yr 80 mil contract extension fully guaranteed is not chump change and there are benefits to his side as well … obviously he would be able to rest easy as he could retire a Steeler and wouldnt have to worry about injury/poor performance or what have you !