When the San Francisco 49ers signed quarterback Colin Kaepernick to a six-year, $126 million contract back in June, there were a lot of voices saying that the 49ers overpaid for a quarterback who has just two and a half seasons of experience under his belt. Even when the news broke out that the deal was a very team friendly one, the criticism was there. How can a player who can only read half of the field as a quarterback, one of the six highest paid quarterbacks in the NFL?
The easiest and most certain way that this criticism will die down is if Kaepernick has a breakout year. The other way that this can happen is by comparing his contract with another’s.
While the details of Dalton’s deal remained to be seen, reports say that the deal’s language is very similar to Kaepernick’s, where the Bengals can pay more or less as they go depending on Dalton’s performance. With that being said, the Dalton contract makes the 49ers’ front office look pretty good for the deal that they wound up giving their franchise quarterback.
Here’s a quick comparison of the two quarterbacks’ careers statistically:
While the regular season numbers are comparable in terms of wins and losses and completion percentage, the real difference between the two quarterbacks is apparent in the playoffs. Kaepernick has four playoff wins under his belt, including three wins on the road, which is something that neither Joe Montana nor Steve Young were able to accomplish in their careers.
On the flip side, Dalton has vastly underperformed in the playoffs, despite having one of the top wide receivers in the game in A.J. Green. The collapse last year against the San Diego Chargers still leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of Bengals fans.
The reasoning behind signing Dalton makes sense. The Bengals are in win-now mode, with the pieces in place both offensively and defensively. They likely won’t be able to find or groom another quarterback who will be an improvement on Dalton, so it’s a smart move to lock up their guy now.
Speaking of smart moves, the 49ers’ front office did just that when they extended Kaepernick earlier this year. At the time it seemed like an exorbant amount to be paying for such an “untested” quarterback, but the 49ers were wise to set the market value, as opposed to playing catchup. It remains to be seen whether Kaepernick or Dalton will live up to their massive contracts, but 49ers fans should take comfort in knowing that their franchise got a good value with their quarterback.