The market is being set for Colin Kaepernick . . . if Kaepernick performs as well in his first full season as the 49ers starter as he did in his 10 starts last season.
Tony Romo, whose Dallas Cowboys have won just one playoff game in his seven seasons as a starter, signed a reported six-year, $108 million extension Friday with a $25 million signing bonus and $55 million in guarantees.
Super Bowl-winning Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco cashed in with a six-year contract worth $120.6 million with $52 million in guarantees this offseason.
And Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers is reportedly close to a record-breaking new deal of his own.
And that brings us to Kaepernick. The question was asked via Twitter if Kaepernick will go to the Pro Bowl next season. He certainly has put himself in position for many accolades as he enters the 2013 season.
1. RT @belikemike_3 Kaep to the Pro Bowl next year? > He certainly has a chance. Then, he can expect deal in the Flacco-Romo-Rodgers range.— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoCSN) March 30, 2013
Alex Smith was never going to the Pro Bowl because of the league-wide perception among players and a lot of coaches that he was merely a product of the system and the players around him. However, Kaepernick proved in his 10 starts that he is a unique, dynamic weapon in the 49ers' offense.
Because of the impression he made last season after replacing Smith, Kaepernick enters 2013 on the watch list of Pro Bowl-possible quarterbacks.
So if Kaepernick plays well enough to earn a spot on the NFC Pro Bowl team, yes, he will be in line for a huge contract. As part of the new collective bargaining agreement, a draft pick is prohibited from signing a new deal until after his third season.
If Kaepernick plays at a Pro Bowl level in 2013, he would be scheduled to make just $973,766 in base salary for 2014. The 49ers would almost have to award him a lucrative, long-term extension in the neighborhood of some of the top-paid quarterbacks in the league.
After all, Rodgers signed his second contract with the Packers (five years, $65 million) in November 2008 after just seven starts. So it's not like the 49ers would have to see more from Kaepernick to make a commitment.
Really, the 49ers already made that commitment last season when coach Jim Harbaugh declared him as the starting quarterback -- and the player around whom the 49ers will build their franchise for the foreseeable future.