Colin Kaepernick is getting the opportunity to start at quarterback this week, and the San Francisco 49ers don’t have to worry about Kaepernick being guaranteed any money if he gets injured.
And if Kaepernick rediscovers his old form and plays well for the rest of the season, he can hit unrestricted free agency without worrying about getting the franchise tag.
Kaepernick’s new restructured contract was reported first by ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Adam Caplan. The final four years of the deal can be voided by Kaepernick before the next league year starts in March 2017. Instead, what Kaepernick has is a one-year deal with a player option for 2017. If Kaepernick doesn’t void his deal, his 2017 salary will be for $14.5 million, but none of that is guaranteed, Schefter reported. Under the old deal the 49ers would have had a $19.5 million cap hit if they released Kaepernick after this season but that’s no longer on the books, ESPN reported.
This could look bad for the 49ers if Kaepernick plays well the rest of the season and re-establishes himself as a top-level quarterback, which he was for most of 2012 and ’13. ESPN said the 49ers can’t give him the franchise tag. Brock Osweiler got $18 million a year from the Houston Texans after seven good starts for the Denver Broncos last season, so Kaepernick could cash in, too. The benefit for the 49ers is they don’t have to worry about Kaepernick suffering an injury and can easily move on from him if he doesn’t play well the rest of this season.
The stakes have raised for Kaepernick over the rest of this season. If he plays well, he could be in line for a great payday in free agency.
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