I am not going to post this in the 49ers forum, it's something everyone can discuss and it's something plenty of other teams can relate to. If you decide to move it, so be it...
The "dreaded" salary cap is part of what makes the NFL so great and part of the reason why it makes winning on a consistent basis so damn hard. On one hand, you get great parity throughout the league. While it may not always translate into Super Bowl victories, it keeps fan interest at a high level. Now for what some what call "the negative" effects. If you win the Super Bowl, your almost guaranteed to be shelling out high dollars on not only escalator clauses, but massive extensions as well.
Joe Flacco went from being a middle of the road QB to the third highest paid QB in the league ($20,000,000) per year. The following season his team went 8-8 and failed to reach the post season. They lost several key players from their run due to salary cap restrictions (and retirement)
Eli Manning makes just over ($16,000,000) per year. He has two Super Bowl rings to show for his dynamic playoff performances but has since missed the playoffs in two straight years while putting up terrible regular season numbers. How much of this can be attributed to his significant cap hit ? Yes his rookie deal was also lucrative, but when one player's salary eats up nearly 1/6th of your teams cap space, it makes it extremely difficult to surround your QB with elite talent.
Aaron Rodgers aka the highest paid QB in the league (Per Year) makes ($22,000,000) per season. The Packers have a long history of building through the draft but even so are restricted when it comes time to sign long term extensions. With that being said, they may be in the best position out of the three considering Rodgers is arguably the second best QB in the league.
Among the other top paid QB's:
Matt Ryan who signed a massive deal with the Falcons (his team went 4-12)
Jay Cutler who missed a good portion of the season but was still rewarded with a huge deal (his team also failed to reach the playoffs)
Matt Stafford who's team was hindered by inconsistent play and failed to reach the playoffs
Drew Brees (who's best weapon is a TE making 825k per year) also has not found a way to get back to the big game
Do you see the trend here ? As soon as a team has to shell out mega dollars for their "franchise" QB, things start to decline. Even if they do have short team success and happen to win a Super Bowl like Brees did, the chances of sustaining a dominant team decreases greatly.
The exception ? Peyton Manning and the Broncos. Manning currently makes 19.2 mll/season but lets not forget, he took over a team that won a playoff game with Tim Tebow at the helm. In the proceeding years I would venture to say some Broncos not named Peyton Manning will be looking for big raises.
Tom Brady, one of the greatest QB's of all time makes a 11.4 million/year. In other words, he makes about 1/2 as much as Aaron Rodgers does per season. That 11 million dollars is one of the reason the Patriots are perennial AFC East champs. Now that does not always translate into Super Bowl wins, but the fact remains you can count on the Pats to reach the playoffs almost every year.
So let me come full circle ...
This is why I truly believe the 49ers will be forces in the NFL for the next 6-7 years at least. Colin Kaepernick who I'll admit was completely overrated by the media will be due for a new deal after next season. All signs point to the 49ers trying to work something out with him during this years off season. Early indications report fair market value for Kaepernick's performance to be somewhere around 9-11 million/season. If this is the case and they lock him up for somewhere around 6 years 66 million, then they will have ample room to retain some of their key players. As many of you know, some of their key offensive and defensive stalwart's are already signed long term. They own 12 picks in this upcoming draft including 2 second rounder's and two third rounder's. Although they have some performance based bonus's to hand out, no one besides Kaepernick will be looking for a huge pay raise. In fact, some of their key players may even be forced to take a pay cut. Of course their success will still hinder on the shoulder's of Colin Kaepernick and his ability to develop into more a pocket passer but the fact remains that in two consecutive seasons he has taken his team to the Super Bowl and then to the NFC Championship. If they can continue to keep elite talent around him (which they should), then the future is bright for both he and the Niners.
I posted this in the NFL forum because you can make the same case for a few other teams around the league. I also posted it here as a bit of a rebuttal to a recent thread suggesting the Niner's window was closing.
In fact, head north a few hundred miles and you will see the NFC Champ Seahawks in a similar situation. unfortunately (or fortunately) for them, Wilson is further along in his progression and will probably make closer to 14-15 million/per when he is due for an extension. Add in the fact that they are paying Percy Harvin 11/million per and have yet to extend the majority of their Defensive stars and you may have a problem sustaining long term competitiveness.
Sorry this post was so long, but I thought it would provide interesting discussion as to what direction not only the 49ers are headed, but teams in similar situations as well.