San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has agreed to a restructured contract with the team that allows him the chance to become a free agent after the season, reports ESPN's Adam Schefter:
From Adam Caplan and me: 49ers and Colin Kaepernick agreed to a restructured deal, wiping out the last four years on the contract and turning it into a one-year deal with a player option to extend the deal for next year, sources tell ESPN. The monetary value of the deal for this year remains the same. Should he want, Kaepernick can void the deal after this season, before the new league year begins in March, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent if he so chooses. The 49ers will not be allowed to use their franchise tag on him.
The two sides have spent months trying to rework the contract, dating back to San Francisco's trade conversations with Denver last spring, but those talks heated up over the past four weeks and now have been successfully completed. Asked on Tuesday if he felt any pressure to have a reworked contract before he started Sunday, Kaepernick said, "No, I feel no pressure." But he did acknowledge, "we have had discussions." Kaepernick was scheduled to make $14.5 million in base salary next season, with a cap hit of almost $19.5 million if they released him. Those numbers are now off San Francisco's books, but his numbers this season stay the same.
Last season the Washington Redskins would not play Robert Griffin III for fear that he could get hurt and the team would be on the hook for his contract the next year. The 49ers have been unwilling to play Kaepernick so far this season for a variety of reasons; Chip Kelly, who named Kaepernick as his starting quarterback Tuesday, has denied that Kaepernick's contract has entered into his decision. But a reworked contract now gives the 49ers more flexibility and security, and it gives Kaepernick the ability to depart San Francisco after this season, so it would appear to be a win-win for both sides.
Kaepernick's player option for next season is the same $14.5 million salary, but none of it is guaranteed, meaning the team could cut him with no repercussions. It makes the rest of the season essentially being a "prove-it" year for Kaepernick - play well and get another contract, or the 49ers won't owe him any money if he doesn't perform.
Last year, Kaepernick passed for 1,615 yards and six touchdowns with five interceptions in nine games as the starter last season before losing his starting job to Blaine Gabbert. He has played just three snaps this season, all of which have been handoffs.Back to the San Francisco 49ers Newsfeed