On Wednesday's edition of the Around The League Podcast, we pointed out that the initial reports of guaranteed money in new NFL contracts are often misleading.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport has acquired, via someone who has seen it, the specifics of Kaepernick's contract.
As a general rule, the most useful comparison tool for NFL deals is the three-year window. Kaepernick's three-year total of $44.17 million is sixth among quarterbacks, behind Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco, Tony Romo and Jay Cutler.
Whereas original reports had Kaepernick collecting $61 million in guarantees, the truth is his $12.3 million signing bonus, $100,000 workout bonus and $645,000 base salary for 2014 are the only fully guaranteed portions of the contract.
Kaepernick has a $2 million roster bonus in each year of the contract. His base salaries after 2014 become fully guaranteed on April 1 (otherwise only guaranteed for injury). In which case, Kaepernick will miss out on free-spending early weeks of free agency if the 49ers end up releasing him at some point.
From 2015 to 2020, there is a de-escalation clause that could lose Kaepernick a total of $12 million if he doesn't play 80 percent or more snaps in a season and make the Super Bowl or the All Pro squad.
The bottom line is a contract that originally appeared to be one of the richest in NFL history is, in fact, a team-friendly deal.
The 49ers can move on without major repercussions if Kaepernick's career takes a surprising turn for the worse.