John Harbaugh: High-priced QB forces tough decisions

John Harbaugh: High-priced QB forces tough decisions
March 25, 2014, 5:45 am
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John Harbaugh: “It’s like golf. You got to play the shot that you’re presented with." (AP)

Programming note: 49ers Insider Matt Maiocco will hold a live chat from the NFL owners meetings in Orlando, FL. today at 12 p.m. 

ORLANDO, Fla. -- John Harbaugh went through it last season, and the worst is still ahead.

Soon enough, his brother will be coaching a team with a huge chunk of salary cap space devoted to the quarterback position.

Coming off the Baltimore's victory over the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco signed a six-year contract that averages $20.1 million annually. After a first-year cap hit of $6.8 million, Flacco counts $14.8 million this season and $14.55 in 2015 before that number jumps to $28.55 in 2016.

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The 49ers have started negotiations with quarterback Colin Kaepernick on a long-term contract – something 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh on Monday described as a “high priority.”

So what can the 49ers learn about having a quarterback who accounts for a significant amount of salary-cap space?

“Man, how much time do we have?” Harbaugh answered Tuesday when asked him that question at the NFL owners meetings.

“It’s impossible to lay that all out without getting into a lot of detail because what it boils down to is it boils down to math and bookkeeping. That’s a big chunk out of your bookkeeping. It’s really going to hit us this year and next year and going forward. It hasn’t hit us that strongly up until this point. It starts to hit us this year.

“So we had to factor that into the books and you have to make tough decisions like (linebacker) Jameel McClain (who signed with the New York Giants) and you have to be able to determine where you’re going to spend your money. I think it’s a decision-by-decision process.”

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Last offseason, the Ravens decided wide receiver Anquan Boldin’s $6 million contract was too rich. They traded Boldin to the 49ers for a sixth-round draft pick. After being voted as the winner of the Bill Walsh Award as the team MVP, the 49ers signed Boldin to a two-year, $12 million contract.

“It’s like golf,” John Harbaugh said. “You got to play the shot that you’re presented with. Sometimes you go for the pin and some times you go to knock it out from the woods. When you’re quarterback is making that much money, you’ve got more tough shots that you have to make.

“They’ll do a good job in San Francisco. They’re really smart. They know what they’re doing.”

In line image of Colin Kaepernick provided by The Associated Press

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