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The 49ers have quarterback Colin Kaepernick under contract for one more season at a bargain rate.
But their decision to trade for the No. 10 overall pick in the 2011 draft on Tuesday could provide the impetus for signing Kaepernick to a new deal this offseason.
After all, Kaepernick is scheduled to be paid $1.073 million in salary and bonuses in 2014. Meanwhile, newly acquired Blaine Gabbert is set to earn a guaranteed $2.011 million this season. Gabbert’s salary this season is fully guaranteed for injury, skill and salary cap concerns, a source said, which virtually assures the backup job is his to lose. The entire four-year, $12 million deal Gabbert signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars as a rookie was guaranteed.
It seems unreasonable to think the 49ers want to keep Kaepernick -- viewed at the quarterback of the future -- dangling on his original deal after being selected with the No. 36 overall pick in the 2011 draft while they pay Gabbert nearly twice his salary.
The Jaguars were 5-22 in Gabbert’s starts over the past three seasons. He was a 53.3 percent passer with 22 touchdowns and 24 interceptions. The 49ers acquired Gabbert in a trade for a sixth-round draft pick. There could also be a conditional 2015 draft pick if Gabbert plays a certain amount in 2014.
Kaepernick's representation met for preliminary contract talks with 49ers officials, including team president and chief negotiator Paraag Marathe, at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Based on contracts signed by Jay Cutler and Tony Romo within the past year, the market has seemingly been set around $18 million per season.