Colin Kaepernick is doing the Super Bowl Week media rounds -- this morning he stopped by KNBR's table and discussed a few interesting things.

Let's zero in on one specific thing: Kaepernick said that he'd like a fair deal in any potential contract extension with the 49ers, but added that there's a balance when you look at the 49ers' hopes of also re-signing players like Anquan Boldin and Donte Whitner.

This is not only a smart PR way to approach the possibility of a new deal, it's the best way to convince 49ers management that...

1) There's plenty of common ground with Kaepernick to try to hammer out a deal, since he's making it clear that he understands they can't just give him every dollar available;

That can only motivate Jed York and Trent Baalke to see what they can do to work out a deal. Harsher words and larger prospective money demands would've definitely cooled the 49ers' desire to sit down and talk with Kaepernick and his representative;

2) Even if Kaepernick is maybe saying these things partly for effect (which is understandable), it's a great, open-minded way to start a negotiation -- and it shows the 49ers that Kaepernick is approaching this with big-picture thoughts.

And you want to invest in big-picture, team-building leadership, especially at the QB position.

Now this doesn't mean a new Kaepernick deal is inevitable this off-season.

This remains a tricky situation -- there's a lot of moving pieces and the 49ers will have to figure out what number works not only for Kaepernick but for Boldin & Whitner (both unrestricted free agents), and several younger players who could get long-term extensions (Aldon Smith, Mike Iupati, Michael Crabtree)...

And Kaepernick has one year left on his current deal, at about $1M.

If he's seeking a monster number -- say, something like the 7-year, $126M deal Jay Cutler signed last year -- then that would be very tough for the 49ers to do if they want to keep most of this roster together for a while.

If the 49ers and Kaepernick can't get to an agreeable number, the 49ers have the leverage of knowing that they have Kaepernick at a very cheap price in 2014, and if there's no extension, they can franchise-tag him for 2015 and 2016 and then can hold him even in 2017 because there are special provisions for QBs.

Going year by year with franchise-tags isn't cheap -- the franchise-tag salary number for QBs will probably exceed $16M in 2015—but it's the going rate for very good QBs and the 49ers can afford it.

At the very least, York and Baalke can afford to keep that option in their pocket heading into the talks with Kaepernick this off-season. They do not have to pay him long-term money yet because Kaepernick isn't at that point in his career or his contract.

If the 49ers throw $18M a year at Kaepernick now, for 7 years... what happens if things go sour in 2014? They're stuck. I'm not saying the 49ers believe it'll go sour, but I'm saying there's no reason for them to avoid protecting themselves against that possibility now.

That means: A shorter-term offer, possibly at a higher price than the 49ers would like but at a number that makes sure Kaepernick is happy and knows he's valued.

What will Kaepernick want, knowing all this?

I think he'd like a high salary figure—he has been a ridiculous bargain for the last two years, and he'd like that changed, I would imagine.

And I think he'd like some security—cash in hand.

What if the 49ers offer three years, $45M? Would Kaepernick take something like that? Maybe four years, $62M?

A deal like that wouldn't put Kaepernick among the top-10 QB average salaries (it'd be 12th or 13th), but it's good money, much of it could be guaranteed (not difficult to do with QBs, you can put that in as roster bonuses) and would allow Kaepernick to...

  • Get paid reasonably within the margins of what he'd be worth on the open market (minus a few million, because he's NOT on the open market);

  • Know he's taking less, but opening some room for the 49ers to re-sign Boldin, Whitner and some others, which is a wise thing for Kaepernick if he wants to win more games;

    (I really do believe the Kaepernick and Boldin situations, in particular, are joined in the 49ers' minds—they have X-number of dollars available to pay those two slots and what one of them is paid affects the other.)

  • Come back and get a much bigger, longer-term deal in another few years, when he'd still be just entering his prime and would have a longer track record—and maybe a Super Bowl title, we'll see—to point to.

    This would be semi-comparable to the 6-year, $65M deal Aaron Rodgers signed with the Packers in October 2008—when he was 25 (Kaepernick is 26 now) and as Rodgers was just taking over the starting job.

    Green Bay and Rodgers wanted to lock in at one number to provide him some security and to know he was the long-term QB, but also give him a chance to come back later in his career for much larger dollars if he proved he was worth it.

    In April of last year, Rodgers signed a five-year, $110M deal (giving him a $22M annual average salary, highest in the NFL).

    The 49ers would have similar motivation to do something like that with Kaepernick, though I wouldn't think it would be for as long as six years, and it would be at a higher number.

    (I know I recently suggested $8-9M as an average salary for Kaepernick, but I'm adjusting that up after talking to a few people)...

    There you go, that's the compromise I see possible for Kaepernick and the 49ers.

    Let's see if the two sides see it, too.