Santa Clara, Calif. — What a difference a few years make.
Colin Kaepernick, a backup two seasons ago, now has the money to prove he’s developed into one of the NFL’s top quarterbacks.
The San Francisco 49ers made Kaepernick their franchise quarterback Wednesday, signing him to a six-year contract extension through the 2020 season.
The deal will pay Kaepernick up to $126 million, with $61 million guaranteed, according to NFL.com. The final year of his rookie contract was to pay him less than $1 million.
“Colin’s hard work and dedication have played an integral role in the recent success of the 49ers organization,” said general manager Trent Baalke. “His work ethic, leadership and on-field production have positively influenced our team, and we look forward to his continued growth in all areas.”
Last season, Kaepernick set career highs in completions (243), passing yards (3,197) and passing touchdowns (21), while also recording 92 rushing attempts for 524 yards and four touchdowns. It was his first full season as a starter.
He led the 49ers to a 12-4 record and a berth in a third straight NFC title game.
In 2012, Kaepernick played in 13 regular-season games (seven starts) and threw for 1,814 yards with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions. He carried the ball 63 times for 415 yards and five scores.
Kaepernick then earned national attention in his first career playoff start by setting the NFL single-game rushing record by a quarterback with 181 yards against Green Bay in the divisional round. The 49ers eventually lost to the Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII.
“I’m trying to win as many Super Bowls as I can,” Kaepernick said. “That’s not necessarily realistic to win it every single year, but that’s what your goal is.”
Picked in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft by San Francisco, Kaepernick has played in 32 games (23 starts), completing 382-of-639 passes for 5,046 yards, 31 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Sherman gets Madden 15 cover
Richard Sherman won’t be able to say those who voted for the Madden NFL 15 cover made a me-di-o-cre choice, or a sorry decision.
No, Seattle’s favorite cornerback has indeed won election as the face of the famous football video game, beating Cam Newton in the finals as reported on ESPN.com.
Sherman is the second Seahawk to ever grace the cover of the game, joining running back Shaun Alexander, who did the honors for the 2007 game following Seattle’s only other Super Bowl trip in 2006 (the year listed on the game is a year ahead of the season to be played).
While Seahawks fans may worry about the so-called Madden Curse — a history of troubling events that tend to occur to those on the cover — Sherman apparently has no such concerns, having several times in recent days lobbied for votes on his Twitter page.
And as the Washington Post’s Neil Greenberg recently detailed, the Madden Curse may simply be the percentages involved in the game of football.
As Greenberg laid out, it is true that 14 of the 16 players featured have had either injuries or a sub-par season in the year they graced the cover.
But as Greenberg also notes, injuries are a part of the game. So, too, is regressing to the mean. Players who were picked to be on the cover inevitably had career seasons in which everything went right — including staying healthy — something that rarely happens on a consistent basis in football.