Colin Kaepernick has been a major storyline this past month, and now he’s aiming for a 49ers roster spot to cap off the preseason.
A major sticking point possibly standing in the way though is money. The quarterback is already guaranteed $11.9 million and can earn another $2 million in roster bonuses depending on his playing time. The potential big blow to the franchise, however, is that Kaepernick has nearly $25 million in injury guarantees after this year.
“How they approach his situation, if and when he does make the team, and the expectation is that he will, will be determined by potentially whether he’s willing to renegotiate,” NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo said Friday on Total Access. “If they have those injury guarantees going forward, you could see an RG3-type situation where they don’t let him do much because they’re afraid of him getting injured.”
Robert Griffin III had a $16.2 injury guarantee, which caused the Redskins to be extremely cautious with putting the former No. 2 pick on the field in 2015, leading to him not taking a single snap in his final season in Washington.
The fear of a similar situation puts San Francisco in a tricky predicament, because why would the 49ers want to keep Kaepernick if they’re too afraid to risk playing him? He may end up having to make a financial sacrifice to continue playing with the only NFL team he’s ever been on.
“They come to him and say, ‘Listen you can renegotiate here and we can get rid of those injury guarantees and we’ll allow you to get out there to practice, maybe even play a little bit, and try to earn your job back,'” Garafolo said. “So renegotiation for him to not only make the roster, but stay on the roster is very much in play.”
Garafolo reported that Kaepernick is likely to make the 49ers’ roster thanks in large part to Thursday night. He demonstrated his value on the football field because of his strong performance amid the controversy following his decision to not stand during the playing of the national anthem
Kaepernick told NFL Network’s Steve Wyche on Saturday that he was sitting during the anthem in protest of societal wrongdoings against African-Americans and minorities in the United States.