to consecutive NFC championship games and one Super Bowl, Colin
Kaepernick was rewarded with a “record” seven-year, $126 million
contract in 2014.
But after three seasons of declining production, including
one season of headlines surrounding his protest of the national anthem,
we got to see that the contract was not nearly as big as everybody made
it out to be at the time, and in the end he received only $39.4 million.
The contract gave Kaepernick a $12.3 million signing bonus and a 2014 salary of just $645,000.
Those were the only truly guaranteed portions of the
contract, despite reports that Kaepernick’s deal included a record $61
million in “guaranteed” money. It turned out the $61 million was only
guaranteed if he were to suffer a career-ending injury. Each year of the
contract after the first, the 49ers were free to cut Kaepernick and not
owe him any more money.
To make matters worse, Kaepernick was supposed to get his
first large salary ($12.4 million) during the 2015 season. However,
because of the way the contract was worded, that salary actually went
down to $10.4 million. Kaepernick’s salary went down $2 million each
year if he was not named first- or second-team All-Pro, or if the 49ers
didn’t play in the Super Bowl the previous season with 80% of the snaps
taken by Kaepernick. None of those things happened.
Kaepernick eventually restructured his contract during the 2016 season, turning the 2017 season into a player option. Knowing that the 49ers were going to release him later in the summer,
Kaepernick opted out of his contract in early March hoping to take
advantage of becoming a free agent earlier and having more time to
secure a new contract.
In the end, Kaepernick’s seven-year, $126 million contract turned out to be a three-year deal worth a tad more than $39 million.
Meanwhile, five months later and just weeks before the start
of the 2017 season, Kaepernick is still without a job and he is without
a big chunk of the $61 million “guarantee.”