The San Francisco 49ers and quarterback Colin Kaepernick have signed a restructuring of his deal, wiping out the final four years and turning it into a one-year contract 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.
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.
If Kaepernick doesn’t void deal — to either sign elsewhere or work out a new deal with the Niners — his contract terms for 2017 are the same: $ 14.5 million salary, but no guaranteed money.
Given that whether or not Kaepernick is on the roster is ultimately up to him, his 46-man roster bonuses are converted into guaranteed salary. A playing-time bonus is also part of the restructured deal.
The two sides have spent months trying to rework the contract — dating back to San Francisco’s trade conversations with Denver last spring — but the 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’s game, 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 the 49ers 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; coach 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.