They both signed new contracts worth over $100 million this summer, but the question is, with just one Super Bowl appearance between both of them, are Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton and 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick worth the big bucks?
Both quarterbacks join the ranks of Aaron Rodgers, Peyton and Eli Manning, Ben Roethelisberger and Drew Brees as quarterbacks to make over $10 million per year. The difference however is that these quarterbacks each have a Super Bowl ring (Eli and Roethelisberger each have two).
When the Cincinnati Bengals decided to give Dalton a six-year, $115 million deal on Monday, they put all of their faith into a fourth-year quarterback who has brought the Bengals back into the annual playoff conversation, let alone overall relevancy.
— Andy Dalton (@andydalton14) August 5, 2014
The contract has a $96 million base with escalator clauses that can push it up to $115 million if Dalton can meet his goals. However, his new deal comes with a catch; with $25 million guaranteed for the next two years, Dalton has to win in January.
The escalators in his contract are geared toward winning in January. Dalton’s numbers during the regular season have been solid in his first three years (11,360 yards, 80 TD, 85.7 QB rating), he’s yet to miss a start and has led the Bengals to a better record in each season which should warrant a contract extension. However his playoff numbers have been anything but impressive.
The only quarterbacks in NFL HISTORY to start their careers with three straight 3,000-yd seasons: Peyton Manning, Cam Newton, Andy Dalton — FOX Sports NFL (@NFLonFOX) August 4, 2014
In the playoffs, Dalton has lost all three of his wild card appearances, throwing just one touchdown and six interceptions.
While Dalton needs to win in January, the other new $100 million quarterback needs to win a Super Bowl to justify his new deal.
Hopefully Kaepernick knows that with a big money reward, he has to provide the biggest win for the Niners: a championship. His deal gives the Niners several ways out should he not perform to the contract, something that nobody is worried about.
The Niners gave their fourth-year quarterback a six-year, $126 million deal. His contract has a $114 million base with the $12 million in escalators.
Like Dalton, Kaepernick’s been a proven winner during the regular season. Since coming in as the starter in the last seven games of the 2012 year, Kaepernick has thrown for 5,046 yards with 31 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He’s also ran for 939 yards since 2012 with nine touchdowns on the ground. He’s also yet to have a season where he’s thrown more than 10 picks, giving him a high 93.8 QB rating.
— #NBC7 San Diego (@nbcsandiego) July 9, 2014
Unlike Dalton, Kaepernick has been fairly successful in the playoffs. He’s led San Francisco to back-to-back NFC championship games, and an appearance in Super Bowl XLVII against Baltimore, where he was less than 10 yards short of leading the Niners to a come-from-behind win.
If (and when) Kaepernick becomes more than a one-read quarterback and more of a true passer, he could have one or two rings in the next five years. As Dalton seems like he can’t win a game in the postseason, Kaepernick seems like he can’t complete a pass. He has only completed more than 60% of his passes in one of his six playoff appearances, floating between a 50-to-60 percent completion percentage and has thrown for over 300 yards once.
The disappointing part about Kaepernick is that he has a ton of talent around him, while Dalton and the Bengals are almost done building their talent base.
Dalton should be able to guide the Bengals further in the AFC playoffs through the next two-to-three years while Kaepernick has to get the Niners to the Super Bowl this year.
While some may argue that both quarterbacks are worthy of the new deals based on their consistent regular season success, others agree that both have to win in order to justify the value of each of their respective contracts.
Time will tell if both deals will be worth it, however, if they can both prove their worth, we could have a Niners and Bengals Super Bowl in the near future.