The new terms of the deal will wipe out the final four years of the contract, turning it into a two-year pact with a player option for the second season. Kaepernick can void the deal after the 2016 season before the new league year begins in March.
If Kaepernick doesn’t void the deal, he’ll earn $14.5 million in 2017 with the Niners, but won’t have any of that salary guaranteed. So now he’s taken back the starting role for San Francisco, Kaepernick can use the rest of the season as an audition for both the 49ers and the rest of the league.
Kapernick signed a seven-year, $126 million contract with San Francisco on June 4, 2014. Only $13 million of that deal was fully guaranteed, but $54 million in potential guaranteed money was available. Obviously that contract was never going to reach its full value based on the way it was structured.
The 49ers have stood by Kaepernick during his highly-controversial protest of the national anthem and this restructuring could wind up being a gift if he can play well over the next few months. He’s only 28 and still possesses a rocket for an arm and unmatched athleticism for the quarterback position.
In a league short on quarterback options, a decent showing by Kaepernick could net him a solid deal this offseason if he chooses to opt out.