SANTA, CLARA CALIFORNIA – Colin Kaepernick insists he just happened to pull on a pair of socks with dollar bill prints all over them Wednesday morning — before he learned he had struck a new fortune with the San Francisco 49ers.
“I had these on before I found out,” he quipped. “Luck of the draw.”
In the tattooed quarterback, the Niners have their franchise man for the long haul.
One of the NFL’s most dynamic young play callers, Kaepernick received a $126 million, six-year contract extension Wednesday that keeps him with the organization through the 2020 season. The deal includes $61 million in guaranteed money, a person with knowledge of the contract said, speaking on condition of anonymity because terms weren’t disclosed.
The sides had made it a top priority to get a deal done before the start of training camp next month.
“They were able to get it done six weeks earlier than what I think everyone thought,” Kaepernick said. “I’m very excited to have it done at this point and we don’t have to worry about talks or anything like that moving forward.”
Kaepernick, whose quick ascent to the ranks of the NFL’s elite under center has earned him rock star status, had been due to make less than $1 million this season.
Now, the 26-year-old Kaepernick instantly becomes one of the league’s richest stars.
“I’m always striving to be in that group. An elite group in the NFL. Not necessarily pay, but as far as a player. Whatever comes along with that comes along with it,” Kaepernick said. “I’m very grateful for it. . . . I don’t think my motivation is money-driven.”
Since taking over the starting job from Alex Smith two years ago, Kaepernick led the 49ers to their first Super Bowl in 18 years after the 2012 season — losing by three points to Baltimore — and then to the NFC Championship Game last season, a three-point defeat to the rival and eventual Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.
Kaepernick even offered a shout out to 2005 No. 1 overall draft pick Smith, saying, “I don’t think I would be 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.”
Kaepernick’s next mission:
“Trying to win as many Super Bowls as I can,” he said. “I think that’s your goal as a player to try to win a Super Bowl every year that you’re playing.”
A second-round draft pick out of Nevada in 2011, Kaepernick has thrived under former NFL quarterback Jim Harbaugh — and the coach has said how much he wants the mobile, strong-armed QB around for the long haul. Accomplishing an extension before the season is a big deal as the team begins its first year in $1.2 billion Levi’s Stadium at team headquarters.
“I really expect a real breakout year for Colin. Athletically, he looks bionic,” Harbaugh said during the organized team activity last week.
In a sensational playoff debut in January 2013 against Green Bay, Kap — as they call him — used his speedy legs to run for a quarterback playoff-record 181 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Then, in a season-opening win against the Packers last September, the strong-armed San Francisco QB threw for a career-best 412 yards and three scores.