The primary reason is because the 26-year-old is eligible to sign a new contract, and is underpaid.
Mike Sando of ESPN’s Insider group tackled the subject Tuesday. Sando came to the conclusion that while Kaepernick is clearly the answer for the long-term for the 49ers, there is no rush to get the deal done this year.
Here are some of Sando’s thoughts:
- After speaking Monday with three player agents, one NFL contract negotiator and a former general manager, I came away questioning conventional wisdom. Do the 49ers really need to pony up for their quarterback this offseason?
The teams paying $20 million a year for quarterbacks are cutting corners elsewhere. Six of the 10 highest-seeded teams in the recently concluded playoffs featured QBs playing on relatively affordable rookie deals. A seventh, Kansas City, advanced with starter Alex Smith earning less than $10 million a year If ... Kaepernick lights up the league under his current deal, that's a good problem to have. Slap the franchise tag on him and see how he does in 2015, all while working toward a long-term deal.
This is just a taste of Sando’s long, well-researched piece. It certainly offers food for thought.
I believe the 49ers will give Kaepernick a rich, new deal simply because they realize they have something special in Kaepernick, and winning in the NFL starts with the quarterback. But, in reality, there is no great rush. I think the 49ers and Kaepernick need to feel good about each other, and that means getting a new deal done sooner than later. However, as long as both sides are on the same page and open with each other in the meantime, this process should be fairly painless.