A nice Salary Cap mailbag by former NFL Agent Joel Corry.
For a team that doesn't overpay, will Colin Kaepernick's next deal forever compromise the integrity of San Francisco's salary cap?-@DeSimone80
The 49ers won't fundamentally alter their approach to contracts and the salary cap because of Colin Kaepernick. They will still sign core players to lon- term deals mostly at a discounted rate and with favorable contract structure well in advance of the expiration of rookie contracts. Having a quarterback with a deal approaching the $20 million per year neighborhood and upwards to $55 million in guarantees could change how cap dollars are allocated and may cause the 49ers to lose some key players to free agency that otherwise could have been retained. That's a consequence of having a deep and talented roster. It may become more challenging for the 49ers to sign free agents to moderate one and two-year deals with escalators and incentives. More veteran players could be signed to one-year minimum salary benefit contracts. A player receives his league minimum base salary and a maximum of $65,000 as a signing bonus with these deals. The player's base salary counts on the cap at the minimum salary for players with two years of service ($570,000 for the 2014 season) instead of at his actual base salary. The 49ers have one player with a minimum salary benefit contract this season. There were four in 2012 and none in 2011.
It will be a surprise if Kaepernick's contract is structured like Joe Flacco's deal where his peak cap number is over $30 million. It's more likely the 49ers will use something similar to the Green Bay Packers' approach with Aaron Rodgers, where the cap numbers are more manageable and without big fluctuations. Kaepernick's contract will include large per game active roster bonuses, just like San Francisco's other lucrative deals, even though they aren't in most of the top quarterback contracts. Only Rodgers and Jay Culter have them. The primary benefit of the roster bonuses is that they provide some financial and cap relief with injuries. The per game amount is only payable if the player is on the 46-man active roster for that particular game. For example, All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman has $750,000 roster bonuses ($46,875 per game) in most years of his deal. If he suffers a season-ending injury after playing eight games in 2015, he won't earn the remaining $375,000 of his 2015 roster bonus.