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Salary-cap spikes could drive quarterback market even higher

Luck Getty Images

We don’t know, and for the next few days we won’t know, the total, actual value of the contract given by the 49ers to quarterback Colin Kaepernick.  So it’s possible that the 49ers haven’t given Kaepernick the top-of-market money that the agent-driven report of the value of the deal suggests.

But let’s assume the non-leaked base value is fairly close to the “up to” value of $126 million.  While it’s arguably premature for the 49ers to give that kind of cash to a guy with 23 career regular-season starts, a stretch in 2013 when he was ordinary at best, and multiple misfires to receiver Michael Crabtree with the 2012 and 2013 seasons on the line, there’s a potential kernel of genius in the decision to give Kaepernick a close-to-market deal with a year left on his rookie contract.

This year, the salary cap went up by $10 million per team.  Next year, it could go up even more.  Ditto for the following year.  The upper limit of the quarterback market, already at $20 million when the cap was $123 million per year, also will go up as the cap increases.

Soon, the high-water mark will be $25 million per year.  Eventually, it will be $30 million.  By next year or 2016 at the latest, Kaepernick’s deal (whatever the truth is) could be viewed as a bargain for the 49ers.

That’s why the Panthers should move quickly, if not immediately, to get quarterback Cam Newton signed to a long-term deal.  With another year or two of high-end performance, he’ll be in position to try to push the top of the market even higher.

It’s also why the Colts shouldn’t do what they did with Peyton Manning on multiple occasions, letting a franchise quarterback play out his contract and backing the team into a big-dollar corner.  They should pay Andrew Luck, doing his best Gene Simmons impersonation in the photo, as soon as he’s eligible for a new deal.  If they don’t, they’ll eventually be paying him a lot more.

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27 Responses to “Salary-cap spikes could drive quarterback market even higher”
  1. alshonbrandontandem says: Jun 4, 2014 8:13 PM

    “Kap is waaaaay overpaid”

    Tony Romo

  2. jcmeyer10 says: Jun 4, 2014 8:24 PM

    I understand the logic. I personally believe Kap is not worth this type of deal.

  3. thepftpoetsuckedmydick says: Jun 4, 2014 8:25 PM

    Highest paid RB in the NFL

  4. posmoo says: Jun 4, 2014 8:26 PM

    Food for thought…
    No team has one a superbowl with a QB making over 12% of the salary cap.

    in 1999 elway was making about $3.2 million per year out of a 57 million salary cap.
    in 2007 peyton won a superbowl with a $8.2 million cap hit out of a $117 million salary cap.
    in 2009 BigBen won a superbowl with a 7.75 million cap hit out of a $129 million.

    the highest that ratio ever got was 2011 when Eli won a superbwol with a $14 million cap hit out of a $120 million cap (11.6%).

  5. qdog112 says: Jun 4, 2014 8:27 PM

    As the pay scale escalates, surely over time QBs will demand more and more. It’s been that way for years, with no change in sight.

    These young QBs are only playing the money game, they didn’t invent it. After this new wave gets paid, I guess when Johnny throws a TD pass, he will break the bank, oh I’m sorry …wreck the league.

    The Colts will have no problem paying Luck, but I have a feeling Gettleman will try to low-ball Cam. Hope I’m wrong.

  6. aceakking says: Jun 4, 2014 8:32 PM

    Andrew Luck doesn’t deserve any money because the Colts tanked a season to draft him.

  7. 4thqtrsaint says: Jun 4, 2014 8:34 PM

    I have written & tweeted the NFL & NFLPA on this a year ago. The Rookie Wage Scale was supposed to funnel that money to veterans. All it did was create a super inflated QB market.

    No offense to anybody’s QB, but there might be 5 QBs in the league worthy of that money. Pick 5 with a SB ring and consistently clutch. That’s a small group.
    Teams are now overpaying QBs just for being a QB. You don’t even have to be good anymore.

    Who is more crucial to their team’s success? Kaep or the defense? Alex Smith or Jamaal Charles? Kaep was barely a top 10 QB last year, if that. He doesn’t have a ring. So what are they paying for? The same team went about as far with Smith at QB.

    This is not an anti-49ers or anti-Kaepernick post. I’m just trying to make a point. Aaron Brooks could get this kind of contract if he still played.

    I just think this has to get resolved. If your best weapon isn’t the QB, why pay him like a Super Bowl winner? Eventually, I think other players will come to resent this.

  8. joeflaccoallday says: Jun 4, 2014 8:35 PM

    Now thinking about Kap is GOING to be worth this money. Already has 4 times as many playoff wins as Romo and Culter and is way more talented than Luck to me. Luck comebacks and stuff are nice and I know his defense is terrible but what do you expect if you throw 7 INTS in the postseason? Kaep messes up but he doesn’t turn the ball over as much as Luck does. Russell Wilson defauntly should make 22 mil a year or more though and Cam should come around 16-18 to be fair.

  9. aceakking says: Jun 4, 2014 8:37 PM

    Kapernick’s contract is bad for the 49ers. He will be the downfall for them.

  10. pilot2011 says: Jun 4, 2014 8:39 PM

    finally an article that makes some sense around here. j/k…but seriously, respect.

  11. hartdaddy says: Jun 4, 2014 8:39 PM

    Wanna know the problem witb today’s sports media? See how many outlets are flocking to defend the Kap deal. Damn shame…

  12. thegreatgabbert says: Jun 4, 2014 8:44 PM

    Come on, the guy sat on the bench for a year and a half on a $5 million guaranteed deal. Then didn’t do as well, statistically, as the guy he replaced over the next year and a half. I don’t see the justification.

  13. allidoiswin55 says: Jun 4, 2014 8:45 PM

    This happens every year this is why money given annually isn’t nearly as big of a deal as hating fans say . Of the players isn’t an elite player already that’s when these numbers are really bad for a team . This is why Seattles deals made so much sense they weren’t crazy and will be able to pay guys as they come up . No doubt Wilson gets a mill or two more than Kaep bit the percentage of the cap the first year is about the same . Money is allocated differently among teams , every team to be competitive will have a high priced qb and a few others and will have to draft and develop. As a Seahawks fan I sleep well knowing the coach and gm currently have the best eye for talent and develop as of now , as noted with so many studs late rd that don’t even make other rosters many times .

    The only way to sustain success is to draft and develop that’s why these teams who bring in older FA and hope they gel and win right away are going to really be hurting if they don’t win ala Denver Oakland Miami borderline TB . You pick your core guys and supplement picks and good values around them. Every team values positions differently and will pay accordingly ex sf lb core to Seattle secondary . Those contracts will be equal come a season or two .

    The formula for a winning franchise does not change you can’t keep everyone but you have to be ahead of the game and have players ready to step in, this is why Seattle a team who has only picked in the top 10 2 times in 14 years all the sudden had the deepest roster in football . The confusion is deepest doesn’t mean most stars like say sf . Sf has the most stars but Seattle had the most quality players mixed with stars and is why they seem to have the best chance of sustaining a winning organizations for a while.

  14. KIR says: Jun 4, 2014 8:49 PM

    Matthew Stafford 5yrs 76m 41gtd No playoffs
    Matt Ryan 6yrs 113gtd post season 1-4
    Tony Romo 7yrs 119m 55gtd postseason 1-3
    Jay Cutler 7yrs 126m 54gtd post season 1-1

    C Kaepernick 7yrs 125m 60gtd postseason 6-2

    If Kaepernick is overpaid please tell me which of these quarterbacks you’d rather have on your team.

  15. sanche243 says: Jun 4, 2014 8:50 PM

    I get this thinking but you have to take into account that most players dont see their contracts as 4-6 years in length. They see it as 2-3 sometimes and as much as he’ll be earning when it comes to the cap numbers in year 4-6 by then as you said they’ll be the avg for Tier B QB’s because of the increase in cap.

    So yes it’s smart for the 49ers to pay him now before the market spikes but who’s to say that this mentality that Kap has wont come back say 3 years from now? Will be interesting to see if they’ll say “we paid you, fulfill your contract” yeah…like that has worked out in the past…the player will hold out for more and in this case it’s more likely then not.

  16. nomoreseasontix says: Jun 4, 2014 8:52 PM

    I suspect that now that Kaepernick has been paid, he’ll flame out.
    Maybe not, but there’s more to getting better as a quarterback than watching yourself do dumbbell curls in the mirror. He doesn’t strike me as the type to burn the midnight oil studying and perfecting his craft.
    Think of the damage he’ll do in South Beach now…

  17. coachbeck says: Jun 4, 2014 8:53 PM

    This will affect the Bengals and Chiefs deals as well. Since kap is a mid tier qb. Thank God for Mike Brown, if anyone can get this qb market in hand it will be him.

    The Bengals do not want to place all their money at qb. They will stick to it, I think Dalton blinks first because of he waits and does the same he will be looking at 10-12m

  18. slugbaitspace says: Jun 4, 2014 8:55 PM

    I highly doubt the Colts learned a financial lesson any of the times they made Peyton play out his contract. Just like Denver doesn’t sign any of their draftees until they absolutely have to, the Colts also have their own methods of sign-and-pay.

    They might do it if he takes the team to the Super Bowl this season, but that would be more of a PR move to keep the Indy fans from flooding their call center and email inboxes with vulgar language.

    Otherwise, Luck will likely have to wait.

  19. Nofoolnodrool says: Jun 4, 2014 8:55 PM

    Now thinking about Kap is GOING to be worth this money. Already has 4 times as many playoff wins as Romo and Culter and is way more talented than Luck to me. Luck comebacks and stuff are nice and I know his defense is terrible but what do you expect if you throw 7 INTS in the postseason? Kaep messes up but he doesn’t turn the ball over as much as Luck does. Russell Wilson defauntly should make 22 mil a year or more though and Cam should come around 16-18 to be fair.

    What do Raven fans know about QB pay? One SB is worth 120 million…..right!!!

  20. campcouch says: Jun 4, 2014 9:30 PM

    I’m not paying the guy so good for him.

  21. yesser12 says: Jun 4, 2014 9:38 PM

    Team will be gutted. He had problems getting 200yds passing, now he will be passing to terrible wrs in the next year or 2. The defense won’t be there to help him either.

  22. jollyjoker2 says: Jun 4, 2014 9:56 PM

    The fans better get the cash out or more games need to be played. Lot of money someone is forking out.

  23. rrhoe says: Jun 4, 2014 10:00 PM

    Definitely not worth the money,RW,while he is a SB winning QB,he is definitely not an elite QB either,that being said we all know NFL contracts are written on toilet paper. Once the guaranteed money is paid he will hear the dreaded “pay cut”…..

  24. natelan says: Jun 4, 2014 10:48 PM

    At this rate, you have two options;

    Just eliminate the cap altogether (not my personal preference),

    Or,

    Impose a per player cap (ceiling), maybe even make the ceiling progressive with experience (preventing the Kaep’s of the world from holding their team hostage with such little playing time).

    At this rate, QB’s are stealing too much thunder/cash.

    I’d like to see the unsung heroes get paid better, such as OL’s, safeties, etc., and QB’s (especially slightly-above-average talents like Kaep) pillage the coffers.

    I do think this contract spells a clear end for the 9ers in the near future though.

  25. guyizzo says: Jun 4, 2014 10:55 PM

    Great money deal for kaepernick. Lots of guaranteed cash for him. Good deal from a financial stand point for the 49ers, with a new stadium and all this deal puts people in seats and jersey will fly off the racks for the next five years.

    Only one team can win it all each year. This deal won’t hurt the 49ers, when overwhelmingly chances are they aren’t winning anyways.

  26. In Teddy We Trust says: Jun 5, 2014 12:00 AM

    At this rate, Teddy Bridgewater might get $50 million in five years.

  27. jgedgar70 says: Jun 5, 2014 4:15 PM

    Considering the Panthers are still working their way out of cap jail, I expect Cam to get similar total value of his contract, with it heavily back-loaded. I think he would be OK with this, since we still have to extend Kuechly and Hardy, and we haven’t won any playoff games with him yet. Being the highest-paid anything is not a concern of his, so I expect he’ll sign a deal that is at least in the neighborhood of fair market value that gives the team the flexibility it needs. Once we get our O-line fixed, Cam’s going to put up sick numbers and we’re going to win a bunch of games.

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