Here is a link to my Tuesday column about Colin Kaepernick’s salary demand. The full column runs below:
Colin Kaepernick is not an attractive personality. Usually he doesn’t say jack. And that’s not attractive. When he says jack — and more — he’s even less attractive.
Take what the Boston Globe is reporting about Kaepernick. He wants a contract extension from the 49ers. He wants a big-money contract extension. He wants Jay Cutler money. He wants Tony Romo money. He wants more than those guys get.
FYI, Cutler signed for $18.1 a year, $38 million guaranteed. Romo signed for $18 million a year, $40 million guaranteed.
If Kaepernick doesn’t get that kind of dough, he says he’ll go back to kindergarten and knock over his blocks and hold his breath until he turns blue. Check that. I got carried away.
He actually said, according to the Globe, he’ll play out the final year of his contract, base salary just south of one mil, and negotiate after next season instead of settling for what he considers a contract unworthy of his eminence.
Someone should slap a Boston cream pie in Kaepernick’s smug face.
Start with this. During Super Bowl Week, he made the rounds of radio talk shows in New York. It talks! He went on with Murph and Mac and, in a sensitive, reasonable voice, said he’s not looking to break the bank in his next contract. What a guy. He’d accept a reasonable contract, not a whopper, so the 49ers can have enough money to sign key players like Donte Whitner and keep the team together. Kaepernick wanted everyone to see him as the ultimate team player.
Now this. It’s like he’s saying, “To hell with the team. I want mine.”
There are words to describe his position starting with “hypocrite” and ending with “phony.” You can fill in words in between.
There’s more. Kaepernick has started 23 regular-season games. That’s not even two seasons’ worth of games. In his 23 starts he has done some things well. He also has created two iconic images in the minds of 49ers fans. Those images would be flopping at the end of the Super Bowl against the Ravens on useless, repetitive, unimaginative passes to Michael Crabtree. And then flopping yet again in last season’s NFC championship game, throwing the same useless, repetitive, unimaginative pass to Crabtree.
For those passes, for freezing under pressure, for not seeing the entire field, for all that and more, Kaepernick does not rate top money. Let the Bears and Cowboys make desperate, silly moves. Let them throw away money. None of that is our concern.
Our concern is Kaepernick. Our wisdom tells us the Niners should pay for what a player actually did in real life, in the hurly-burly of action on the field with the stakes high and everything depending on his wits and his arm. The Niners should not pay for what a twice-failed quarterback might do, could possibly do some day in a vague future that may never happen.
And make no mistake, Kaepernick has failed twice. Jim Harbaugh dumped Alex Smith — there’s no polite way to put it — after Smith got injured, an unusual move, and made his guy, Kaepermick, the quarterback expressly to win a Super Bowl. That was the logic and that was the goal.
Smith already proved he could lose in the NFC championship game. Harbaugh wanted someone to do better. He wanted someone to win the championship game and win the Super Bowl. Well, Kaepernick won and lost the championship game. He also lost the Super Bowl in horrible ways.
The Niners gave the team to Kaepernick to win the Super Bowl. Not to lose the Super Bowl. They expected him to deliver. He did not. Toward the end of last season, Harbaugh and Greg Roman made noises that Kaepernick is young and still learning. Weak. They didn’t put him in to learn. They put him in to win.
And he should have won. Kaepernick is the quarterback of the NFL’s most talented roster. Neither Kaepernick nor Harbaugh has won the Super Bowl with those players. Other quarterbacks would have won. Other head coaches would have won. Not these guys.
If the 49ers give Kaepernick the money the Globe says he wants, that will sink the whole franchise. For a quarterback who’s still learning? Imagine what Billy Beane would do in a parallel situation. He’d get a new quarterback.
Here’s what the 49ers should do. They should remind Kaepernick and his agent that Kaepernick has a contract. A valid, binding contract. Written on paper. A document he signed in sound mind. They should hold him to that contract. See how he plays next season. See if he improves in the red zone. See if he sees the entire field. See if he wins the Super Bowl.
Stuff like that.
If he wins the Super Bowl, sure, give him Cutler money. If not, well things will get real interesting. But, please, make his contract performance-based, not extortion based.
Because there is a certain amount of extortion involved in his negotiations and Harbaugh’s negotiations. It’s like they own the franchise. It’s like they are holding it up, like without them the Niners will revert to being complete failures.
They certainly are showing a lack of respect for Jed York and his business acumen and guts.
I hope York asserts himself, lets Kaepernick and Harbaugh know he runs the team and these are the 49ers, for God’s sake, and they are bigger than two guys, no matter who those guys are. And the Niners will pay on their terms, run the team on their terms.
Advice to Jed York: If Kaepernick persists in his unrealistic, impertinent, rude demands, give him jack.
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