When people see the name Colin Kaepernick, they are more likely to think of politics than sports or football. His connection with the NFL has largely faded into an issue of player’s rights instead of his qualifications as a starting or backup quarterback in the NFL. Regardless of your political leanings, the fact is that he was once considered to be one of the best quarterbacks in the league and took advantage of it financially.
The estimated net worth of the former NFL quarterback is estimated to be $20 million, but this is something that cannot be completely verified due to the complexity of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers. There are multiple performance and player clauses in every team contract, so the exact amount of money a player is paid at the end of the year gets a but fuzzy.
As for the specifics that we do know about, Kaepernick originally signed with the 49ers in 2014, negotiating a contract that would pay him $126 million over 7 years. Then comes the question of how much of that was guaranteed money, how many of his performance bonuses was he able to earn, and what was left on the table in 2017. That was the year he opted for free agency, so there were at least 3 years of the $126 million that were never fulfilled. The simple math tells us that he made $18 million for his 4 years with the Niners, for a total of $72 million.
Being a smart businessman, he took advantage of his quick rise to fame and respectability by negotiating an endorsement deal with Nike, the first choice for players of any internationally recognized sport. That contract, signed in 2011, ended up with Kaepernick’s image not being seen on Nike ads until this most recent “Just Do It” themed campaign marking its 30th anniversary identifying the slogan with the Nike brand. So he may have made very little with Nike despite the endorsement contract. The bottom line is that this will only have an impact on his future net worth.
All this means his primary source of income and total net worth come from his playing days as an NFL quarterback. He did spend two more years in the league after signing as a free agent, and there is a more accurate value of his income for those 6 years in the NFL: $43,479,216.
This number makes his estimated net worth of $20 million reasonably accurate. Though he may have made some small change from his political advocacy, he has had to spend money on legal fees in his conflict with the NFL over alleged exclusionary practices that are in violation of the NFL Players Association bargaining agreement. For many team owners, he has become more of a risky investment due to this conflict rather than his talent as an NFL property or his political views. This makes any future employment with the NFL increasingly unlikely.
Despite the turmoil in his playing career, his polarizing political positions have resulted in him being a primary public face for Nike, which historically has not shied away from controversy. His latest ad is said to have earned him millions of dollars, and is expected to earn him millions more in the future. What has been a lower key issue with Nike is that they have decided to use Kaepernick in a Nike line of shoes and apparel, which will only add to his future net worth.
And that is where Kaepernick’s future net worth lies. It has been 3 years since he has played in the NFL, so landing a contract that will pay him the kind of money he got as a second round pick in 2014 is not in the cards. From a football perspective, he should be peaking at this point in his career – if he was playing. The best he can hope for is a role as a backup quarterback, though that would add millions to his annual income and his net worth.
What he might need to keep his net worth value on the rise is to find non-sports related endorsement deals. It will not be long before his connection with the NFL fades and his persona as a political advocate will be his primary face in the media. Optimists may hope for his return to the NFL but barring that he needs to move his career in another direction.