Hobson's Choice extra: Kap edition

Posted Jun 5, 2014

Geoff Hobson answers more fans in an extra of this week's Hobson's Choice.

The Colin Kaepernick extension is worth a Hobson's Choice extra:

Hi Geoff, I think we just got some bad news in the Dalton saga. Kaepernick landing a 6 year 126 million dollar deal cant be good for the Bengals. Wouldnt paying Dalton or offering him less be like saying we drafted the wrong guy? Frank Bodnar, Mount Holly, N.J.

FRANK: The Colin Kaepernick deal shouldn’t blow up the Andy Dalton negotiations, it may even help them. As the mushroom cloud begins to evapaorate after 24 hours and the details begin to emerge, the news can’t be all bad when the analysts are calling it “a team-friendly deal,” and the player walks away happy.

It’s more about structure than money when the deals get this big, anyway. So we’re not really talking about $126 million. Cut through the fluff of the Kaepernick deal , as calls it, and you’re talking about $18 million per year.

And less if Kaepernick doesn’t hit some milestones like winning the Super Bowl and being named first and second-team All-Pro.  The structure can always turn less money into more money and vice versa.

It all depends on structure. How much when for what. For instance, teams could offer a guy less than Kaepernick, but make him do less to get more by a certain date. What’s the better deal?

The Bengals historically try to frontload as much as possible in both bonus and salary. For instance, through a series of roster and option bonuses and salary, Carson Palmer got $30 million in the first 13 months of a six-year, $96 million extension nine years ago. Which seems more guaranteed than Kaepernick’s $61 million at this point.

All how you look at it. It also shows you the Bengals will wheel on a QB.

It sounds like there are some of the same concepts at work in San Francisco and Cincinnati. Kaepernick talked about how the contract was put together so the 49ers could sign other players and no doubt the Bengals are hammering home the same point to Dalton’s people. If this thing is going to stay afloat with people Dalton needs, A.J. Green, Jermaine Gresham, Mo Sanu, and Marvin Jones also need to get done at some point. Giovani Bernard isn’t going to be driving his girlfriend’s mother’s car forever.

While the Niners have put in de-escalators that shrink the deal, according to published reports, the Bengals have been known to structure a schedule of accelerators in their contracts. If Dalton leads a Super Bowl win, then the theory would be he earns Joe Flacco, $20M per year money.  

The Kap deal is significant simply because it establishes guidelines for the 2011 class with Dalton and Cam Newton, in theory, coming in somewhere below  Kaepernick. Dalton and Newton have better passing stats, but Kaepernick has been to a Super Bowl and two NFC titles games with a regular-season winning percentage of .739 compared to Dalton’s .625 and Newton’s .520.

The $61 million guarantee is a soft number, according to because only $13 million is guaranteed at signing. PFT reports that on April 1 of each year, the guarantees convert from injury only to fully guaranteed.  That gives the 49ers the ability to decide, in any given year, to cut him, and get out from under the contract. It would seem to give the Bengals and Dalton ample room to work.

Like everything else, it’s all relative. The Bengals didn’t draft the wrong guy when they took Dalton at No. 35, minutes before the Niners traded up to take Kaepernick at No. 36. They wanted a better passer and a guy more equipped to start and win right away. You’d have to say it’s worked out for both clubs.

And when Dalton signs the debate is if he got a better deal than Kaepernick. That will be in the eye of the beholder.


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