The team ended all speculation over whether or not they would extend their quarterback’s contract, signing him to a huge six-year extension with a record $61 million guaranteed. The deal locks Kaepernick in through 2020 and vaults him into the category of highest paid players in the league. It’s also a big raise over the $1.073 million he was scheduled to earn this year.
Kap has been the Niners starter since taking over for Alex Smith in 2012, posting a 21-8 record while throwing for 6,420 yards and 38 touchdowns. A duel threat, Kaepernick has 507 rushing yards in the postseason, second only to 49er legend Steve Young. CK7 is no stranger to success, leading the Red and Gold to back-to-back NFC Championship games, including the Super Bowl two seasons ago.
With a host of talented receiving targets and a terrific backfield behind him, Kap has been given the keys to a Ferrari, it’s up to him not to crash it. While I cautioned against giving Kaepernick such a big contract at this point, the deal shows Trent Baalke has full confidence that Colin is the guy to lead the 49ers to the promised land.
Now, however, the pressure falls to head coach Jim Harbaugh. Baalke has signaled that he and Kaepernick will be there long term, but Harbaugh remains a separate issue. Whether or not the rumors were true, the head coach was nearly traded to the Browns this offseason amidst talk that he and the Niners GM were not seeing eye to eye. While Kap may be the one with the huge deal, the onus is on Harbaugh to deliver a Super Bowl, or he could be on his way out.
That being said, the table is set for the 49ers to have a successful season. They have a terrific set of receivers, a great offensive line (Boone holdout not withstanding) and a sensational defense. The Niners still have some salary cap space if they wish to address holes in the secondary. With the pieces of the puzzle seemingly in place, the time to bring the Lombardi trophy home is now.
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