ORLANDO, Fla. – San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is usually coy during media interviews, but he was direct and to the point when asked about quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s future at the NFL owners meetings on Monday.
Harbaugh was asked if extending Kaepernick’s contract should be a priority for his organization this offseason. Kaepernick was a second-round pick by San Francisco in 2011. He will earn $973,766 in 2014 before becoming a free agent after this upcoming season.
As one might imagine, Harbaugh does not want Kaepernick to hit free agency.
"The priority is that Colin Kaepernick is a San Fransisco 49er for however long we can have him a San Francisco 49er," Harbaugh said. "It’s definitely a high priority."
There is a good reason why.
After replacing Alex Smith as a starter in 2012, Kaepernick led San Francisco to the Super Bowl during the 2012 season. Kaepernick continued his postseason success by guiding his team to the NFC championship game last season.
Kaepernick has 5,046 passing yards, 31 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in his career. He also has rushed for 937 yards and nine touchdowns.
And San Francisco definitely has to pay him.
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo signed a six-year, $108 million contract extension ($55 million guaranteed) in 2012, but does not have Kaepernick’s playoff success. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford signed a three-year extension valued at $76 million over five years, including $43 million guaranteed. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler signed a seven-year, $126.7 million contract ($54 million guaranteed) after last season.
Kaepernick’s deal could exceed $100 million based on the current quarterback market.
"He’s an amazing individual," Harbaugh said. "He’s an amazing player. He shows up and works all the time. There’s really nobody that can compete with him in a workout situation. He will bury everybody. Then when somebody tries to compete with him, he just ramps his competitiveness up. And somebody is over there on a knee throwing up. He’s just unbelievable. As you can tell, I feel he is a special and great player, so it’s a high priority."
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