Christmas came early for Colin Kaepernick on Wednesday, when the 49ers quarterback put his John Hancock on a $126 million deal that included $60 million in guaranteed money.
After two dynamic seasons behind center, the six-year extension assures that Kap will be San Francisco's signal-caller through 2020. After the news broke, and the team confirmed, Kaepernick himself took to the podium in Santa Clara to make it official.
Here is what Kaepernick had to say:
What kind of sense of relief does getting this done, and getting it done in June, give you going into the season?
“I think everyone’s very excited about it. I think not only my agents, Scott [Smith] and Jason [Bernstein], but [49ers team president] Paraag [Marathe] and [49ers director of football administration and analytics] Brian [Hampton] and the 49ers organization put a lot of hard work in to making sure we got this done as soon as possible.”
This is a big deal obviously so it’s going to come with a lot of big pressure. What do you see yourself accomplishing over these next seven years?
“Trying to win as many Super Bowls as I can. I think that’s your goal as a player is to try to win the Super Bowl every year that you’re playing. Granted, that’s not necessarily realistic to win it every single year. But, that’s what your goal is.”
I know that the case in Miami, there’s going to be nothing to it, but the timing of it, was there any ever any sense in your mind that that was going to somehow railroad this deal that had been started in February?
“Well, that wasn’t something that I was worried about. I think I was letting my agents handle all of the talking. They did an amazing job talking with the 49ers. I think everyone’s very happy that this organization, my coach, to [49ers CEO] Jed [York], to everyone throughout the building, had this kind of confidence to do it at this point in time. I think we all greatly appreciate that.”
Did you expect this to happen so soon once they started face-to-face negotiations again?
“I really wasn’t sure when it was going to be done or the timing of it. But, they decided to have it done at this point and we don’t have to worry about talks or anything like that moving forward. We can get back to football and focus on trying to win a Super Bowl.”
You’re in an elite stratosphere of players in the NFL now in terms of what you’ll be making. At what point did you feel that you belonged in that club? How many games into your career did it take you to feel that way?
“To me it’s something that I feel like I’m always striving to be in that group, in the elite group in the NFL. Not necessarily pay, but as far as a player. And whatever comes along with that, comes along with it. But, for me I’m worried about trying to be the best player I can and try to help this organization win as many games as we can.”
Why was it important for you to get the deal done now?
“I wouldn’t say it was something that had to be done right now. I just think between my agents and the organization, they work very hard and work very well together. The timing of it, they were able to get it done six weeks earlier than what I think everyone really thought.”
Do you have any plans on what you want to do with the first time you see your bank balance take a big jump?
“Haven’t thought about it too much. But, I think the first thing is to make sure everyone in my family is set and I guess go from there.”
At the end of last season, I thought you made some comments that your salary demands might be somewhat more modest than what we’re hearing that you got in order to leave space for other players on the team. Had you rethought that position?
“No. Part of the way the contract is written and the way it was negotiated was so they would be able to sign other players. That was something that my agents and the organization worked out and they felt like this was something they would be able to get other players with.”
Did you ever imagine this happening to you? Before going to Nevada, a relatively small program and you being a baseball player as well, was there anything in your mind that sensed ‘I might become one of the highest paid players in the NFL?’
“No, I don’t think that’s something that I ever thought about. I think for me I’ve always just tried to be the best player I can be. To be able to have this compensation come along with it is amazing. I’m very grateful for it. There have been too many people that have helped me get to this position, from the organization to my family to [head] coach [Jim] Harbaugh, Paraag working on the deal, my agents being there, the coaches along the way, even [Chiefs QB] Alex Smith, the time I spent with him. I don’t think I would have been able to be at this point so quickly if he hadn’t been such a great mentor to me and helped me along with things. So, I’m very grateful for my teammates as well. I wouldn’t be here without them.”
Sometimes guys get paid and they get fat and happy. That doesn’t seem like it’s going to be a problem with you, but is that something you’ll have to guard against, just having to dull your desires slightly?
“No, I don’t think so. I don’t think my motivation is money driven. I think it’s driven by the success I can have on the field. Not necessarily for myself, but with my teammates. And, this just gives me all the more reason to go out and try to prove that I can live up to the expectations. I can try to help this organization win as many Super Bowls as possible.”
[RELATED: 49ers sign Kaepernick to blockbuster deal through 2020]
Is there pressure in that?
“I don’t feel like it’s a pressure thing. I think it’s my own personal expectation regardless of what anyone else thinks. My expectation is to try and win a Super Bowl every year.”
What’s the biggest part of your game that you think that you need to improve on to get a Super Bowl championship?
“I think it’s something you’re constantly trying to work on all parts of your game. But, as far as progressions, getting through reads, making better decisions in certain situations. Those are always things you’re trying to improve and it’s always easier in hindsight to say, ‘I should have done this, I could have done this,’ but it’s something you try to work to make sure in hindsight you’re making the right decisions.”
Is there anything you wanted to buy that you’ve always wanted to buy and now you will buy it with this new money? Or purchases?
“No. Not at this point. I really don’t spend too much money. I think the three most expensive things I own are my T.V., my bed and my couch. I’m going to keep it that way for a while.”
You’re very charming at this press conference. It’s very nice to see you smile. You have a nice smile. A lot of times last season and the season before after games, we never saw that. You hardly spoke in mono syllables. You were curt and never smiled. Why have you changed?
“It’s not a change. To me, it’s a different time, different place. In the offseason, we have the opportunity to talk and there is nothing on the line. In season, there is information that you can say, there’s things that you can say that other teams might pick up on that might hurt you on the field, might hurt you for the next game. To me, I’m not going to give that information away.”
So, you’ll be that way again during the season? Are these two personalities, the “nice” Colin and the “difficult” Colin, and will we see the other one later on?
“It’s not ‘nice’ and ‘difficult’ Colin. It’s a ‘short-and-sweet’ Colin and someone that can be a little bit lengthier with their answers.”
That’s an interesting choice of socks you’re wearing. Was that chosen this morning or are those special contract-signing socks?
“No. I had these on before I found out. So, luck of the draw.”
What do you have to say to the folks who are skeptical saying you haven’t played 30 games, or started at 30 games? What do you say to those folks who are skeptical and a contract this big?
“Well, I guess the only thing I can say is I’m going to work to try and make sure I’m worth every penny of this. I’m going to try to win as many games as possible and help this team win as many games as possible. And, I think that’s something I feel like I can do.”
Colin, I have a follow-up sock question. Where did you acquire those and what do they represent, if anything?
“To be honest, one of my friends gave them to me, I think. He gave me a box of socks. No idea what brand or what company, but they were in my drawer.”