Big time players make big time plays and those big time plays result in big time cash. This was the case for San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who signed a six-year, $126 million extension with the franchise. The signing took place on Wednesday as Owner Jed York and the rest of the team’s personnel wanted to ensure that they put a lock on their franchise quarterback through the 2020 season.
In college, Kaepernick was a standout passer at the University of Nevada. After redshirting his freshman year, Kaepernick immediately exploded onto the scene as a four-year starter for the Wolf Pack. During his career at Nevada, he passed for 10,098-yards, 82 touchdown passes, and only 24 interceptions. He also ran for 4,112-yards and 59 touchdowns, becoming the first quarterback in Division I Football history to cross the 10,000 passing yard and 4,000 rushing yard plateaus, respectively.
He also became the first Division I quarterback to throw for over 2,000-yards and run for over 1,000-yards in a single season three times. Kaepernick led the Wolf Pack to four consecutive bowl game appearances during his four years as starting quarterback, including their only bowl win in January, 2011.
During the 2011 NFL Draft, Colin Kaepernick was selected by the San Francisco 49ers as the 36th overall pick in the second round. Before Kaepernick arrived, the 49ers endured a seven year playoff drought. He spent the majority of his rookie season on the sideline as he watched first year head coach Jim Harbaugh, and quarterback Alex Smith, lead the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game.
In 2012, Kaepernick became the starting quarterback after Alex Smith suffered a concussion and led the 49ers to the playoffs. In the opening round, Kaepernick responded with an all out performance against the Green Bay Packers by passing for 263-yards and rushing for 181 more. He also accounted for four touchdowns as San Francisco won, 45-31. After beating the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship Game, the 49ers returned to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1994.
When Smith was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs, Colin Kaepernick became the full time starter. In the season opener against Green Bay, he passed for 412-yards and three touchdowns in the 34-28 victory. San Francisco won 12 games, earned a playoff berth, and made it back to the NFC Championship Game for the third consecutive season. Again, the 49ers reached the doorstep, only to endure more heartbreak. They fell one touchdown short of a return trip to the Super Bowl, losing to the Seattle Seahawks, 23-17.
Realistically, there are not a lot of owners throughout the National Football League who are willing to invest this much money into a star athlete. At the same time though, Jed York deserves some respect because his heart was in the right place when he took the risk into making the deal. However, how can you not take a risk on Colin Kaepernick?
Although he is only his third season, Colin Kaepernick is maturing at a fast rate. Kaepernick has proven himself as a Pro Bowl caliber quarterback and he is capable of emerging as one of the league’s top passers within the next few years. He helped turn the franchise around by making significant contributions and made them worthy Super Bowl contenders. The San Francisco 49ers, along with their quarterback, have many great seasons ahead of them and the fans are excited for what the team can bring to the table.
For more information on the statistics on collegiate or professional football players, go to either one of the following websites: http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/players/colin-kaepernick-1.html or http://www.pro-football-reference.com/