Earlier this week, teams could start to sign free agents without the signing being factored into compensatory picks in next year’s draft. This caused in influx of moves this week and probably will span over the coming weeks. Despite this, the biggest move this week was a massive contract extension for a quarterback. This move is discussed in depth below and, as always, the rest of the moves are down below with some of the more significant ones highlighted in red.
The aforementioned contract extension belongs to Kaepernick, who signed the new deal Wednesday after an intense negotiating period with the 49ers that had been occurring over the prior two days.
A six-year contract extension, he is now under contract for the next seven seasons and will become a free agent after the 2020 season, when he will be 33-years old (he is currently 26-years old). The maximum value of this contract is $126 million and the maximum amount of guaranteed money is $61 million. This guaranteed money is the most ever in NFL history.
However, not all of it is guaranteed from the start, only $13 million––the signing bonus––is guaranteed for skill. All of the $61 million is guaranteed for injury though. With this structure, the base salaries of year are guaranteed, but only after April 1 each year. If the 49ers believe that his play is no longer worth the money, they can cut him and save money on the salary cap starting next year.
By setting up this structure, the 49ers are safe if his play drops. In return the 49ers likely gave him a bit more money than what they were initially willing to give.
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Drafted with the 36th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft out of Nevada, the dual-threat quarterback has become one of the league’s best quarterbacks since earning the starting job halfway through the 2012 season when Alex Smith went down with an injury.
That year Kaepernick helped lead the 49ers to Super Bowl XLVII where they lost to the Baltimore Ravens. This past season he helped lead the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game where they lost to the Seattle Seahawks.
Completing 58.4 percent of his passes last year, he threw for 3,197 yards, 21 touchdown and eight interceptions. He ran the ball 92 times for 524 yards and four touchdowns. He is one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the league, possessing a strong arm and great speed as a runner. These attributes can give defensive coordinators headaches trying to scheme against him.
Handing him such a massive contract, San Francisco will be hoping that he continues to improve his play. With only 23 regular season starts, he doesn’t even have two years of experience as a starter. This means that there are multiple things that he can improve both as a thrower and a runner. The quarterback position is the most complex in the game and the nuances can take a while to learn and master.
Averaging $21 million per year in new money, this contract will set the tone for the future contract extension of Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson when they become eligible next year. With Kaepernick receiving this kind of money, it is likely that Luck and Wilson receive contracts in the range of $23-25 million.
Just looking at the total money of the contract, it looks like the 49ers may have made a mistake paying this much money to Kaepernick. However, with the structure of this contract, San Francisco is in a perfect position as they can move on from him at any time––which is unlikely though. Kaepernick also comes out well here as he gets a long-term contract with San Francisco that averages $21 million per year in new money at the maximum value of the contract. Both sides are happy with this deal.
The Arizona Cardinals sign LB Ernie Sims.
The Baltimore Ravens sign LB D.J. Roberts.
The Baltimore Ravens cut QB Nick Stephens.
The Buffalo Bills sign C Macky MacPherson.
The Chicago Bears sign CB Al Louis-Jean.
The Chicago Bears sign WR Armanti Edwards.
The Chicago Bears sign WR Michael Spurlock.
The Chicago Bears waive LB Tana Patrick.
The Chicago Bears terminate the contract of WR Domenik Hixon with an injury settlement.
The Chicago Bears sign QB Jimmy Clausen.
The Chicago Bears cut LB Lawrence Wilson.
The Cincinnati Bengals release DT Ogemdi Nwagbuo.
The Cincinnati Bengals sign OT Chandler Burden.
The Cincinnati Bengals claim WR Jasper Collins off waivers.
The Cleveland Browns waive CB Julian Posey.
The Cleveland Browns sign CB Aaron Berry.
The Cleveland Browns cut LB Larry Grant.
The Cleveland Browns cut LB Quentin Groves.
The Detroit Lions cut DE Kourtnei Brown.
The Detroit Lions cut DT Vaughn Martin.
The Detroit Lions sign LB Kalonji Kashama.
The Detroit Lions sign WR Cody Wilson.
The Indianapolis Colts waive QB Seth Lobato.
The Indianapolis Colts waive CB Keon Lyn.
The Indianapolis Colts sign CB Johnny Adams.
The Indianapolis Colts sign C FN Lutz.
The Jacksonville Jaguars claim WR Kevin Smith off waivers.
The Jacksonville Jaguars cut LS Travis Gillette.
The Kansas City Chiefs waive OT Colin Kelly.
The Kansas City Chiefs sign QB Deon Anthony.
The Kansas City Chiefs sign CB Justin Rogers.
The Kansas City Chiefs cut DT Risean Broussard.
The Minnesota Vikings claim CB Julian Posey off waivers.
The Minnesota Vikings waive CB Kip Edwards.
The New England Patriots sign LB James Anderson.
The New England Patriots cut WR Mark Harrison.
The New Orleans Saints sign C Jonathan Goodwin.
The New Orleans Saints cut G Mike Golic.
The New Orleans Saints cut LB Spencer Hadley.
The New Orleans Saints sign DT Brandon Deaderick.
The New York Giants release QB Josh Freeman.
The New York Giants claim OT Rogers Gaines off waivers.
The New York Giants sign S Kyle Sebetic.
The New York Giants cut S Will Hill.
The Oakland Raiders sign WR David Gilreath.
The Oakland Raiders sign WR Rahsaan Vaughn.
The Oakland Raiders sign K Michael Palardy.
The Oakland Raiders cut WR Jared Green.
The Oakland Raiders cut WR Noel Grigsby.
The Oakland Raiders cut P Daniel Zychlinski.
The Philadelphia Eagles sign OL Allen Barbre to a three-year contact extension.
The Pittsburgh Steelers cut WR Jasper Collins.
The Pittsburgh Steelers sign WR C.J. Goodwin.
The San Francisco 49ers sign LB Blake Costanzo.
The San Francisco 49ers waive G Al Netter.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign CB Quinton Pointer.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers cut CB Marc Anthony.
The Tennessee Titans sign CB Marc Anthony.
The Washington Redskins release DT Kentwan Balmer from the reserve/left squad list .