Photo by Kyle Terada of USA Today Sports

Photo by Kyle Terada of USA Today Sports

Colin Kaepernick’s contract details, plus future outlooks, salary cap wise

Jun 5, 2014 at 3:56 PM

June 6th, 2014 UPDATE: Some new news has come to me. Kaepernick actually has $2 million escalators, for the same requirements, 80% play time, and either 1st or 2nd team All Pro or reach Super Bowl, and those come to him automatically in each year. So his base salaries are actually $2 million less each year. So it appears ProFootballTalk was wrong.

As everyone knows by now, the 49ers were able to strike a new 6-year deal, worth up to $126 million with quarterback Colin Kaepernick this week. I have the details and the outlook for future years below.

Kaepernick received a $12.328 million signing bonus, which prorates at $2,465,600 over 5 years. 2014-2018 to be exact. He also has the following base salaries: $645,000 in 2014, $10.4 million in 2015, $11.9 million in 2016, $14.5 million in 2017, $15 million in 2018, $16.8 million in 2019, and $19 million in 2020.

Kaepernick's 2014-2017 base salaries are guaranteed for injury only right now, but becomes fully guaranteed on April 1st of each year. While the same is true for 2018, only just $5.2 million is guaranteed for injury until April 1st of that year.

He is also eligible for a $100,000 workout bonus this year, along with $400,000 workout bonuses starting in 2015-2020, and $2 million roster bonuses, tied to the game-day active roster, starting in 2015-2020.

June 6th, 2014 UPDATE: Some new news has come to me. Kaepernick actually has $2 million escalators, for the same requirements, 80% play time, and either 1st or 2nd team All Pro or reach Super Bowl, and those come to him automatically in each year. So his base salaries are actually $2 million less each year. So it appears ProFootballTalk was wrong.

His actual cap figures are below.

2014- $3,767,444
2015- $15,265,753
2016- $16,765,753
2017- $19,365,753
2018- $19,865,753
2019- $19.2 million
2020- $21.4 million

Now this is the part of the article where I take a peak into the future, and let everyone know how the 49ers look, salary cap space wise.

In 2015, the 49ers currently have 65 players signed, and their top 51 salaries account for $145,155,798, which incliudes a $1,494,531 dead money hit for Carlos Rogers since he was desiginated a June-1st cut. For the time being, I am using a projected salary cap of $140 million, which would actually put the 49ers at $5,155,798 over the salary cap. But don't fear, the 49ers will have salary cap space, as some players seem obvious for either restructures, or straight out released.

Running back LaMichael James, who has a $1,050,013 salary cap hit in 2015, and would save the team $842,577. Note that James isn't considered a lock for this years roster, as there has been rumors over a potential trade for James for a late round pick.

Defensive end Ray McDonald, who has a $5,946,985 salary cap hit for 2015, would save the 49ers $3,453,014 with a release. I would expect the 49ers to try and restructure his contract, unless Tank Carradine shows major flashes, or another player such as Tony Jerod-Eddie continues to improve. Then McDonald could be seen as expendable.

Safety Craig Dahl, who has a $1,933,334 salary cap hit in 2015, would save the team $1.7 million with a release. Note that Dahl isn't a lock for the 2014 roster either.

A couple players who may end up retiring if the 49ers can end up with their 6th Lombardi trophy, are below.

Wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who has a $6.909 million salary cap hit in 2015, would save the team $3.273 million against the cap if he retires.

Defensive end Justin Smith, who has a $6,436,668 salary cap hit for 2015, and would save the team $4.25 million if Smith chose to retire, but that would put the 49ers in a bind if they lost both DEs.

Place kicker Phil Dawson, who has a $4.143 million salary cap hit for 2015, would save the team $2.643 million against the cap if he retires.

Just to be clear, players who retire usually leave a dead money hit. Examples being Ray Lewis with the Baltimore Ravens, and Glen Coffee a few years back with the 49ers, both of which left dead money from their signing bonuses.

Some obvious candidates for restructures, but not outright releases are below.

Tight end Vernon Davis, who has a $7,019,920 salary cap hit in 2015, could be in line for a extension/restrcuture, where he lowers his base salary, gets a new deal, and gives the 49ers cap relief.

Outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks, who has a $8.35 million salary cap hit in 2015 is a potential restructure candidate, or simple pay cut. He is making a lot, with a $6 million base salary that could be restructured down the the league minimum, saving the team over $4 million in cap room.

Inside linebacker Patrick Willis, who has a $8,736,750 salary cap hit in 2015, is also a potential extension/restructure candidate. He has a $7.065 million base salary, which can be lowered and converted into a bonus, giving the 49ers cap relief and locking up Willis for the long term.

The only other candidate for a extension/restructure, is Aldon Smith, who has a $9.754 million cap hit in 2015 due to the 49ers picking up his 5th-year team option. If he stays clean, he is almost a lock to get an extension, and in the process, would lower his 2015 salary down to a lower amount.

Taking all of this into account, and the fact that there are other players who make some money that won't be there come March, 2015, the 49ers should be able to retain some of their free agents to be. Namely the likes of Michael Crabtree, Glenn Dorsey, and Chris Culliver. I don't expect Mike Iupati back. He will cost way too much money to extend him.

I can see the 49ers extending someone soon, likely Crabtree, getting to load up in 2014, and then ease up the cap hit for 2015. Then they can let the cap numbers rise in 2016 and beyond, when the salary cap should hit over $160 million.

Now let me take a quick peak at the future years beyond 2015.

The 49ers have 39 players signed for 2016, with a cap commitment of $107,607,928, which includes $3,473,986 in dead money from voidable years for Anquan Boldin and Ray McDonald. I believe the salary cap will be at least $150 million, which leaves the 49ers currently at $42,392,072 under the 2016 cap.

The 49ers have 22 players signed for 2017, with a cap commitment of $81,201,224, no dead money, and an expected cap limit of at least $160 million. The 49ers have around $78,798,776 in cap room for 2017 right now.

Beyond 2017, the 49ers are looking at $127,521,400 in cap room in 2018, with a $170 million cap limit. $173.625 million in cap room in 2019, with a $180 million cap limit. Finally, they would have $166.6 million in cap room in 2020, with a projected $190 million cap limit.

I expect the salary cap to rise each year more than I have stated, but that is just a safe estimate for right now.

Don't forget that each year I expect $5 million in cap room to be devoted to the 49ers draft class. And we have some other high profile free agents in the upcoming years, namely, Vernon Davis, Alex Boone, Joe Staley, and Patrick Willis.

They also have 5th-year options for safeties Eric Reid (in 2017) and Jimmie Ward (in 2018) that they will need to decide, but that is a long ways away from now.

As always everyone can follow me on Twitter @Jay_AB81 or message me on the Webzone. Also check out, for more salary cap news, and notes.
The views within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


  • Dave808
    Did I miss it but shouldn't Gore save about $6M when he retires after this year?
    Jun 6, 2014 at 2:31 PM
    Response: Not really, since he isn't under contract, so the money is not actually savings per say.
  • Frank M
    Jay...Matt Maiocco put together a top 10 contract extension list...Vernon was #8. I'd actually put him at #10. Guys like Boone, Crabtree, Dorsey, Aldon, Staley, Culliver should come before him. Very disappointed in Vernon's "me first" attitude. Maybe he needs a one-on-one w/Singletary, eh. Great job on your analysis...whew, you wore me out just reading it!
    Jun 6, 2014 at 11:37 AM
    Response: I agree, I believe Vernon needs to wait a year in my opinion. Then get an extension, I don't see the rush right now.
  • Oscar
    Good work, Jay! I loved the 2015 projections.
    Jun 6, 2014 at 6:34 AM
    Response: Thanks Oscar, looking forward to the podcast coming up in the next few days.
  • John Martins
    Thanks Jay Hurley, you do a great job and all fans should follow you on Twitter. I think the Kap signing was very smooth and smart for the Niners & we all hope he collects every penny because that would mean he has either taken us to the Super Bowl or been an All-Pro QB. Extend Crabtree, hopefully he can stay health. Vernon needs to shut his mouth, he does not sound like a leader right now. The future is bright.
    Jun 5, 2014 at 6:26 PM
    Response: Thank you John. I appreciate the compliments, and love. I agree with Vernon, he is the 3rd highest paid TE, he is being compensated well enough. Crabtree should be a priority over him.
  • valerio
    Good Job bro thats some math but there is no way we keep everyone its way too much, Kap needs to take that step to being a top 10 QB in this league no more of this 3 int. the forth quater games. I always thought there should be a pay scale in the NFL just like the new rookie scale. QB's 10 mil tops, WR 8 tops, CB's 8, LB's 8 and so on like that you are able to keep your stars on one team. With a 200 mil salary in a couple of years it might seem that way but not when players are recieving 20 mil a year.
    Jun 5, 2014 at 5:23 PM
    Response: That'd be tough for the NFLPA to swallow, having set numbers at positions. Not a bad idea, just could see a major fight by the NFLPA.
  • Joe walters
    Nice work
    Jun 5, 2014 at 4:56 PM
    Response: Thanks, I appreciate that.

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