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Niners need to get out the checkbook

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The bad news for the 49ers is that their season has ended one step short of the Super Bowl.  The worse news is that the 49ers now have to start rewarding financially those who have helped the team make it to three straight NFC title games.

It’s a given that the 49ers will try to extend the contract of coach Jim Harbaugh.  The question is whether he’ll look to break the bank with an eight-figure annual payday — or at a minimum to do better than his brother, John, who’s making $7 million annually in Baltimore.  If Harbaugh aims higher than the Niners are willing to go, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he decides to push toward coaching free agency after 2015.

Regardless of what the 49ers pay Harbaugh, they won’t have to count his money against the salary cap.  Not so for players who are now due to be paid.  Quarterback Colin Kaepernick leads the way, with the third year of his rookie second-round deal completed.

But what will he be worth?  If he’d stepped up and delivered in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game at Seattle, Kaepernick may have landed in the $18 million annual atmosphere.  With a year left on his rookie deal, the challenge becomes putting a value on him right now that will reflect not only what he has done, but what he will do moving forward.

Receiver Michael Crabtree may think it’s time to get a new deal, too.  He has played five years of a six-year, first-round deal from 2009.  Due to earn a base salary of $3.5 million in 2014, Crabtree can make a strong case that he is underpaid.

Crabtree isn’t the only receiver who’ll want to be compensated.  Anquan Boldin’s contract has expired, a year after the 49ers picked up the last year of it via a trade with the Ravens.  If the 49ers let him go, good luck replacing his production and leadership.

And what about Aldon Smith?  The seventh overall pick in 2011 didn’t receive a top-10 windfall, thanks to the rookie wage scale.  While off-field issues have created a presumption that the 49ers will opt to wait, Smith’s performances can’t be denied.  Apart from two sacks on Sunday in Seattle and 1.5 two weeks earlier in Green Bay, Smith has 42 sacks in 43 career regular-season games.

If the 49ers are worried about a suspension or other issues that would keep him away from the field for an extended stretch (again), the contract can be structured in a way that protects the team.  The non-football issues also could help the 49ers get a good deal on a long-term contract, and in turn to give Smith a clear financial incentive to avoid future problems.

Regardless, the 49ers have some problems to address.  Some may say they are good problems to have.  The problems would be a lot better if they still had one more game to play this season.

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35 Responses to “Niners need to get out the checkbook”
  1. JSpicoli says: Jan 20, 2014 9:09 AM


  2. thepftpoet says: Jan 20, 2014 9:12 AM

    The Seahawks are the most pathetic, unclassy franchise in all of sports.

    This team will get embarrassed by the Broncos on the biggest stage in the world.

    This fanbase is so trashy, they threw food at Navarro Bowman when he was carried off the field in a stretcher…

  3. koudoes says: Jan 20, 2014 9:16 AM

    Iupati is key as well. Kendal hunter can wait. Gore, I love him, but next year maybe his last. Hopefully he goes out with a SB

  4. bigjdve says: Jan 20, 2014 9:18 AM

    It will be interesting to see which players they elect to keep, all of the players you mentioned have been great and deserve to be paid.

  5. justintuckrule says: Jan 20, 2014 9:19 AM

    Move kapernick to rb where he belongs and draft a real qb.

  6. hscorpio says: Jan 20, 2014 9:29 AM

    Of the 4 examples of guys SF has to pay, 3 are under contract.

    Who do they have that isn’t under contract (besides Bolden)? That would be key piece of info on a piece that is meant to preview the offseason for SF.

  7. kaperchoke says: Jan 20, 2014 9:30 AM

    Boldin will be gone.

    The transition from Gore to Lattimore will happen (whether Lattimore is any good at all)

    Krapernoob has choke again, thus will fall back down to earth

    Failtree is a 2nd rate WR, nothing has change

    Bowman will have to recover from his injury

    And a bunch of old D and O lineman might be on the way out… Justin Smith, 9er Center…

    i.e. 9ers won’t even make it to the championship next season.

  8. lonespeed says: Jan 20, 2014 9:34 AM

    And this is how the window closes in today’s professional sports world…

    They’ll have to keep the nucleus of the team for too much money. Key contributing players will be let go thus leading to the stars not performing as well unless they get really lucky in the draft.

    Anquan Boldin will probably be let go because he’ll be the odd man out and the passing game will not be as effective with only Michael Crabtree. You only have to look at Boldin’s career to know that teams he leaves are never better the next season.

    Frank Gore has another year of tread on the tires and the odds of him surviving another season injury free is slim. Not hating on Gore (an underappreciated stud running-back), just the reality of the position. The odds usually catch up with running-backs who string a couple years together relatively injury free.

    Once things turn bad, an undisciplined team with lots of swag when it was winning turns very obstinate and difficult to manage during losses.

    The coach, who is a jerk, can see the writing on the wall and leverages himself out the door to a team who is up-and-coming and tries to repeat his success.

    After a nice run, the 49ers will be one of the teams in the 50% of playoff teams who won’t make it back to the dance next year.

  9. packerblitz says: Jan 20, 2014 9:48 AM

    Like the Niners have a choice. They have a QB who helps them win games. Doesn’t really matter if it is with his arm or his legs. Pay the guy. Don’t be a franchise like the Raiders, Bills, Browns, Jaguars, Bucs, Vikings, Titans, and Jets who never seem to have a QB. And these teams wonder why they always are picking higher in the draft.

  10. officialgame says: Jan 20, 2014 9:48 AM

    Not a 49ers fan but for what its worth Kaepernick really took a step back this season. I don’t think there is much of a choice but to sign him but I wouldn’t break the the bank either because he could regress further.

  11. overratedsteelerhater says: Jan 20, 2014 9:50 AM

    i think there window has just shut for a little while.not enough cap room for all the players.

  12. rkab22 says: Jan 20, 2014 9:52 AM

    The 49ers planned for this and are sitting on a gold mine of draft picks for 2014. They have 12 picks and will likely get a comp 3rd rounder for Goldson. That would give them 6 picks in the top 100 of a deep draft. They don’t have a lot of spots open on the roster so they’ll move up and target 2 – 3 potential impact players in the late first / early second. They need speed on offense. No Ginn, Moss or Delanie Walker hurt them this year.

    And they get Marcus Lattimore and Tank Carradine,their luxury picks from last year, back into the fold. And their projected #2 corner Chris Culliver returns from injury as well as their starting nose tackle in Ian Williams. On paper this team gets better quickly.

    Carlos Rogers earned his way out of SF this year, especially yesterday, and Tarrel Brown will want to get paid. And someone will pay him. Brock took the deal Brown was offerred and will stay and be a starting corner. They’ll need depth at corner and can use some of those picks on depth.

    Boldin may go elsewhere, as will Baldwin. Goodwin will retire and Kilgore will take over center. Whitner may be a 50 / 50 proposition, he needs to play smarter.

    Of the guys looking for deals, I think its hard to say Kaepernick, Iupati, Crabtree or Aldon Smith had amazing years. All of them struggled with personal issues or performance issues during this year which raises question marks. All of their values were higher last year than they are right now. Actually considering what that team went through – its amazing how far they got and how well they stayed together.

  13. wininer says: Jan 20, 2014 9:55 AM

    Everyone predicting certain Niners doom is reaching, just like they did last year when losing pb S Goldson.

    There is a reason we don’t sign Peyton Mannings, or make ridiculous trades for Perc Harvin’s.

    We will be just fine and will continue to compete for championships.

  14. jay4hisdamnself says: Jan 20, 2014 10:19 AM

    Report comment
    thepftpoet says:
    Jan 20, 2014 9:12 AM
    The Seahawks are the most pathetic, unclassy franchise in all of sports.

    This team will get embarrassed by the Broncos on the biggest stage in the world.

    This fanbase is so trashy, they threw food at Navarro Bowman when he was carried off the field in a stretcher…
    What has any of this got to do with “9ers now have to break out their check book to reward their stars?” Y’all came in,played good,just not good enough! Take the loss and don’t be a sore loser!

  15. ajpnsf says: Jan 20, 2014 10:24 AM

    Some guys may have to take a pay cut or be cut. Niners need to let Rogers go and Draft a replacement. Get the deal with Kap done now.

  16. dragonfly99 says: Jan 20, 2014 10:29 AM

    Who’s gonna pay for Kaepernick’s new tattoos?

  17. tennesseeoilers says: Jan 20, 2014 10:43 AM

    Before reading this, I was thinking the 49ers are this decade’s Philadelphia Eagles (circa Donovan McNabb). I was wrong. The 49ers’ stint as a recurring runner-up will be much shorter. Once free agency’s done with ’em, they’ll look like my Titans.

    Also, am I the only one wondering how they would have done in last year’s and this year’s postseasons if they had a mobile QB who was also an accurate passer … you know, like Alex Smith?

  18. tennesseeoilers says: Jan 20, 2014 10:50 AM

    Wininer said: “Everyone predicting certain Niners doom is reaching … There is a reason we don’t sign Peyton Mannings, or make ridiculous trades for Perc Harvin’s.”

    Dude, that’s priceless. And telling. 49er fan logic in action … You just described the two teams going to the Super Bowl !!!

  19. thestrategyexpert says: Jan 20, 2014 10:54 AM

    All those draft picks and all that talent and they put everything into winning this year and still couldn’t make the Super Bowl. They shortchanged their future in exchange to come up short this season, otherwise some of these problems they have now wouldn’t be as big if they planned for them more efficiently in the past. They gave up a lot for what would have been a better set of long-term moves and that has now turned out to be nothing other than an extra voluntary tax that they didn’t have to take on. Time to pay the bill fools. Might want to also hire a clock manager too after blowing the end game strategy in each half. That’s important stuff to have a handle on.

  20. coldplay519 says: Jan 20, 2014 10:59 AM

    “The bad news for the 49ers is that their season has ended one step short of the Super Bowl.”

    Their season ended two steps short of the Super Bowl:
    Step 1 – Win the NFC.
    Step 2 – Win the Super Bowl.

  21. camdenyard says: Jan 20, 2014 11:09 AM

    Funny that their last play this year was a floater to Crabtree in the right side of the endzone. If Squidward completes the pass, the Niners win. He didn’t. Just like last year (thankfully, for this Ravens fan).

    This is as far as they will get for the forseeable future.

    Reminds me of the quote in the movie Field of Dreams” – “Sometimes we don’t recognize the most important moments of our lives as they are happening. We tell ourselves, there will be next year. Only to find out that that was the only year”.

  22. madroaddog says: Jan 20, 2014 11:12 AM

    thank god……thus begins the end of an almost franchise, a dirty team that excels in cheap shots, a classless fan base (just read their comments) coached by a classless man.

  23. arwiv says: Jan 20, 2014 11:24 AM

    I made a comment about their window closing before this years playoffs even started. Its not just them though….it happens to all good teams (except the patriots….but they have the best coach in the game, not to mention Brady).

    I think the niners have one more year left to win it all with this basic group of guys….after that though, the championship caliber talent that they have now will have to be re-built again. Money and age will definitely have taken its toll on them after this upcoming season.

  24. diveleft says: Jan 20, 2014 11:33 AM

    When I read the headline I assumed the reason why they needed their checkbooks was to pay fines for ripping the officials.

  25. h2ftw says: Jan 20, 2014 11:39 AM

    thepftpoet says:
    Jan 20, 2014 9:12 AM
    The Seahawks are the most pathetic, unclassy franchise in all of sports.

    This team will get embarrassed by the Broncos on the biggest stage in the world.

    This fanbase is so trashy, they threw food at Navarro Bowman when he was carried off the field in a stretcher…
    And the San Francisco 49ers have class?

    Colin Kaepernick should be the poster child for sportsmanship after scoring a touchdown at Carolina last week and mocking Cam Newton’s Superman celebration while looking at Panthers fans.

    Or how about last season when Arizona’s Michael Floyd received a helmet-to-helmet hit vs SF — and Donte Whitner taunted him while Floyd laid on the field concussed.

    Yeah, those Niners. Their roster is chock full of classy players.


  26. apkyletexas says: Jan 20, 2014 12:02 PM

    News flash – Kaepernick is not a good passer on a consistent basis.

    Do NOT pay him $18 million.

    Anyone who has watched football for more than the past 3 years.

  27. singhgill says: Jan 20, 2014 12:08 PM

    Kaeper*ick might already be overpaid. Cost them that game. The sorry receiver can’t make a case for more that 3.50 million. However, that sorry coach calling him the best receiver in NFL history might get him paid.

  28. backdapack4evr says: Jan 20, 2014 12:32 PM

    This ship will sink.
    The 49ers have the most playmakers in the NFL and nothing to show for it.
    A good coach would have cashed in by now.

  29. trojanmaaaan says: Jan 20, 2014 12:42 PM

    That’s right…getting Alex Smith back could be a VERY expensive proposition…

  30. shlort says: Jan 20, 2014 12:50 PM

    The salary cap will make it hard to keep that team together as is. They will lose some guys. they better hope that the guys they lose were not significant parts of the system.

    Kaepernick will get overpaid. Boldin will get paid. Aldon Smith will demand more money regardless of his issues, and he will get paid.

    Once all that paying gets done, some guys will not get paid and will leave over the next couple years. Some this year, some the next. The tem will be less effective as they move forward. This year may have been their best chance to win it all before they have to reload and hope they got it right for the next 4 or 5 years.

    Basically, the Kaepernick experiment was a huge mistake, and now that Kaepernick and a bunch of fans/media think Kaepernick is an elite player, he will ruin the 49ers cap and the team will have to hope Kaepernick can carry the team. he can’t and won’t. 49ers are done.

  31. shlort says: Jan 20, 2014 12:58 PM

    wininer says:Jan 20, 2014 9:55 AM

    Everyone predicting certain Niners doom is reaching, just like they did last year when losing pb S Goldson.

    There is a reason we don’t sign Peyton Mannings, or make ridiculous trades for Perc Harvin’s.

    We will be just fine and will continue to compete for championships.

    Teams with good QBs can challenge every season. The 49ers do not have that. Kaeperneck is a game manager type of player. he is basically trent dilfer with legs. When the niners D gets hacked up by the cap, injury and old age, the Niners are in big trouble. they are where they are because of their D. Start paying the wrong players and there will be huge problems in the W column.

    If the Niners D were 20th last season, how many games would they have won? When the D is not top ranked, you have to be able to throwthe ball to win the games. Kaeperneck is not the guy a team wants to rely on to win the game for them.

  32. cuda1234 says: Jan 20, 2014 1:06 PM

    Why in the world would the 49ers throw a bunch of money at a mediocre qb who’s still under contract for a year?

    I get that the media loves him because he looks like gang banger but that doesn’t make him a good qb.

    This is a deep qb class and I’m sure they could find someone to hand off to Lattimore in 2015 (if they decide Colt McCoy can’t handle that job).

  33. apkyletexas says: Jan 20, 2014 1:49 PM

    I’m not so sure Colt McCoy wouldn’t be a better qb than Kaepernick.

  34. everyonesanexpert23 says: Jan 20, 2014 9:21 PM

    I’ll try this again. I am one of probably only a few happy 49er fans. I definitely got my money’s worth of exciting games over the last 3 years and that’s what this is all about isn’t it, our entertainment. Of course I might be a little more angry or disappointed if I didn’t already get to enjoy a decade of dominance in the 80’s that will never be seen again in this modern free agent era. It’s obviously really hard to win the Super Bowl. Only one team a year gets to achieve this but does this mean that every other team sucks and every other player choked? Kaepernick definitely needs to mature, isn’t worthy of a franchise dooming contract (won’t get one) and probably won’t win a championship if he doesn’t become a better progression Qb like my favorite joe Montana mentioned earlier this week. However he did make some great throws and obviously kept the niners in the game with his legs against a great seahawks team that totally shut down one of the best pocket QBs of all time in Drew Bree’s just last week. The niners are not doomed and will continue to succeed if they stick to their winning formula of drafting wisely, not getting wrapped up in any huge free agent contracts and not overvaluing their own players. They have a ton of draft picks coming up and need to think long and hard at what they need to stay competitive. Biggest obstacle to their continued success is the fact that the NFC waste division is now the NFL best division. Go niners!

  35. sharks123 says: Jan 21, 2014 12:42 AM

    How does Kap take a step backwards in his first full season at the helm? I guess young Qbs get very little time to grow these days. It’s ridiculous. Is Kap a flawed passer at this point? Hell yes he is. He’s also a Qb that is 4-2 in the playoffs and was a huge part of the niners winning those 4 games. One play from a super bowl title then one play from getting back to it the next year. Very little perspective being shown by people.

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