Some in the NFL believe the Colin Kaepernick has the highest upside of any current young quarterback in the league -- even more than guys like Andrew Luck and RG3. Here's a look at Kaepernick-specific NFL proposition bets.
Joe Flacco Syndrome?
Money can change people, and NFL players are no different. Young, hungry players work incredibly hard to earn a huge extension. Some don't know how to handle success when getting all the money. So it will be interesting to see how Kaepernick fares this year. Remember, he was just a second-round pick in the 2011 draft so he didn't get some big guaranteed deal that a first-rounder does. Kaepernick was vastly underpaid the past two years -- and will be this season with a base of just $645,000 -- but he got his monster deal this offseason: a six-year, $126 million extension.
NFL contracts are never what they seem. Really this is worth $61 million guaranteed and it actually was a fairly team-friendly deal. Kaepernick's base for 2015 is only $12.4 million, which is a very good number for the 49ers for one of the 10 best signal-callers in the NFL. By comparison, Peyton Manning's base will be around $19 million in 2015.
Kaepernick led the 49ers to the Super Bowl following the 2012 season. He was beaten in that game by the Ravens and their QB, Joe Flacco. Now Flacco's deal looks like one of the worst in the NFL. He got a six-year, $120 million contract before last season and had his worst year. In 2016, Flacco's salary cap hit will be nearly $29 million to Baltimore. That's the risk you run with giving out big money. Even though Kaepernick's contact might look bigger on the surface, it's a much better deal for the Niners than Flacco's is for Baltimore.
Kaepernick Props at Sportsbooks
He is +2400 to win NFL MVP and +20000 to lead the NFL in passing yards. The guy will probably never lead the league in that category because he's more of a dual-threat guy. He's still also somewhat inaccurate. Plus the Niners as currently constructed still are very committed to the run, and they probably always will be as long as Jim Harbaugh is the head coach. Thus Kaepernick likely won't have the numbers worthy of winning MVP unless the Niners dominate the regular season at something like 14-2 or 15-1. That's not impossible, although San Francisco's schedule might be the toughest in the NFL.
Other NFL props for Kaepernick at sportsbooks like Bovada, he is +1600 to throw for more than 4,000 yards, +1400 to rush for more than 750 yards, +800 to score at least seven rushing touchdowns, +1200 to throw for at least 30 TDs, +400 to rush for 100 yards or more in any game, +1600 to score a rushing and passing TD in at least six games, and +1200 to throw for 300 yards or more in at least five games.
Last season was Kaepernick's first as a full-time starter. He threw for 3,197 yards and 21 touchdowns and rushed for 524 yards and four scores. Kaepernick threw for 300 yards twice: the season opener vs. Green Bay and the regular-season finale against Arizona. His highest rushing yardage total was 87 yards in Week 2 against Seattle, although he had 130 in the NFC title game vs. the Seahawks. Kaepernick had two games in which he ran for a score and threw for at least one in the regular season.
Again, you have to consider the offense Kaepernick runs here. His 416 passing attempts were just 20th in the NFL. Even Jets rookie Geno Smith had more. That's because the Niners ran the ball 505 times, third-most in the league. That's not likely to change even with Frank Gore getting up there in age and the team losing backup Kendall Hunter to a torn ACL. The Niners still have second-round pick Carlos Hyde to back up Gore. Also when considering Kaepernick's numbers, realize that he has to play six games against the excellent NFC West defenses of the Seahawks, Rams and Cardinals.
NFL Free Picks: The only recommendations are Kaepernick to rush for at least 100 yards in a game, as he could break a 65-yarder at any time, and the seven rushing TDs. Kaepernick should get plenty of goal-line touches unless the rookie Hyde vultures them.