After leading the San Francisco 49ers to consecutive NFC championship games and one Super Bowl, Colin Kaepernick was rewarded with a “record” seven-year, $126 million contract in 2014.
But after three seasons of declining production, including one season of headlines surrounding his protest of the national anthem, we got to see that the contract was not nearly as big as everybody made it out to be at the time, and in the end he received only $39.4 million.
The contract gave Kaepernick a $12.3 million signing bonus and a 2014 salary of just $645,000.
Those were the only truly guaranteed portions of the contract, despite reports that Kaepernick’s deal included a record $61 million in “guaranteed” money. It turned out the $61 million was only guaranteed if he were to suffer a career-ending injury. Each year of the contract after the first, the 49ers were free to cut Kaepernick and not owe him any more money.
To make matters worse, Kaepernick was supposed to get his first large salary ($12.4 million) during the 2015 season. However, because of the way the contract was worded, that salary actually went down to $10.4 million. Kaepernick’s salary went down $2 million each year if he was not named first- or second-team All-Pro, or if the 49ers didn’t play in the Super Bowl the previous season with 80% of the snaps taken by Kaepernick. None of those things happened.