The big news in the NFL today (because, even though it's in the middle of the offseason, we know the NFL is a 365-day-a-year deal) is that of the San Francisco 49ers and quarterback Colin Kaepernick reaching a massive extension.
For #49ers QB Colin Kaepernick: It’s a 6-year extension worth up to $126M with $60M guaranteed, source says. Under contract through 2020— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 4, 2014
To be specific, the Kaepernick 6-year extension includes $61M guaranteed, the highest ever.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 4, 2014
In Colin Kaepernick’s deal, there are postseason, other incentives that take the deal up to $21M per year. History shows those are in play.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 4, 2014
My first reaction to the numbers is just simply, "WOW," though my second reaction is that we shouldn't have expected anything else. In today's NFL, teams pretty much have no other choice but to dish out a ton of money to young franchise quarterbacks. The 49ers did what any other team would have done, but it does go to show that the market for quarterbacks just keeps rising - and incidentally, the Colts will have one of their own to pay in a few years.
As we all know, Andrew Luck is the headliner of this young quarterback crop and is the best of the group. Massive contracts are coming for other guys like Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, and likely Robert Griffin III as well, but Luck is the headliner of the group and will undoubtedly get a huge contract.
An interesting note on Kaepernick's contract is that the deal was reached because he wasn't a first round pick. That year's first overall pick, Cam Newton, still has yet to get an extension because of the fifth year option that teams now have, which the Panthers correctly picked up this year for Newton. In Luck's case, since he was also the first overall pick, the Colts can choose to pick up his option for the 2016 season before giving him a huge contract, which I fully expect them to do. But after that, he will get paid, and it will be a deal that I am completely sure will eclipse Kaepernick's, and quite likely will eclipse the contracts given to guys like Newton, Wilson, and RG3.
The Colts have already begun preparing for the day when Luck's contract will come, and even the way they manage their salary cap now is with the eventual contracts of Luck and others in mind. And while we're on this note, let's not fail to forget that there are new contracts coming for guys like T.Y. Hilton, Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen, (maybe) Trent Richardson, Jerrell Freeman, and others in future years. Earlier this offseason I wrote about how the teams that win often are the ones that spend their free agency money on keeping their own instead of adding new guys, and the fact that the Colts spent a lot this offseason on keeping their own showed that they're close. That still remains true, and we can consider it a good problem to have that the Colts have a number of good players who will be due for large contracts - absolutely deserved contracts, as well. And, most notably in the case of Andrew Luck, his contract will absolutely be deserved, but it will be huge nonetheless. With Colin Kaepernick's deal today, it's just another reminder that the day is coming for the Colts - although it'd certainly be much better to pay the big bucks to keep Andrew Luck than to try to play without him, that's for sure.