Colin Kaepernick got his break when he filled in for an injured Alex Smith on "Monday Night Football" in 2012.
Kaepernick was a revelation in the contest, and Smith never started in another game for the San Francisco 49ers. Less than two years later, Kaepernick finds himself a very rich man with a monster six-year extension worth up to $126 million and a record $61 million in guarantees. Smith, on the other hand, is still seeking security with the Chiefs.
However, Kaepernick hasn't forgotten the man who took a backseat to him in the Niners' QB pecking order that season.
"I don't think I would be at this point so quickly if (Alex Smith) hadn't been such a great mentor to me and helped me along with things," Kaepernick said at a Wednesday news conference to announce the deal. "I'm very grateful for my teammates as well. I wouldn't be here without them."
Even though Kap is now paid like an elite player, he knows he has flaws in his game. What does he need to correct to reach the next tier of NFL signal-callers?
"I think right now, improving on getting through progressions, making the right reads and doing it every play is something that can take me to the next level as a player and take this offense to the next level," Kaepernick said in an interview that will air on "NFL Total Access" at 8 p.m. ET. "And that's something we're constantly working on and we get to do it against one of the best defenses in the league every day."
He's reached a Super Bowl and two NFC title games in just 23 regular-season starts. It's scary to think what Kap can do when he adds a higher football IQ to his freakish athleticism.
The latest "Around The League Podcast" discusses Kaepernick's contract and debates the players poised to break out.