(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick and San Francisco have agreed to terms on a six-year, $126 million deal that will include $61 million guaranteed, the most ever given to an NFL player in one contract.

“Colin’s hard work and dedication have played an integral role in the recent success of the 49ers organization,” 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. “His work ethic, leadership and on-field production have positively influenced our team, and we look forward to his continued growth in all areas.”

Kaepernick was drafted in the second round of the 2011 draft but did not get his first start until the following season, when he threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns against the Chicago Bears in San Francisco’s tenth game of the season. Last year during the regular season he completed 243 of 416 pass attempts for 3,197 yards and 21 touchdowns plus rushed for another 524 yards and four touchdowns. Kaepernick was also under center for back-to-back road playoff wins last season and became the fourth quarterback in NFL history to win each of his first three road playoff starts.

“He’s very gifted and he always has been,” Coach Jim Harbaugh said. “I’m really excited about everything about his game right now.”

According to Over the Cap, Kaepernick now has the second highest average annual salary next to Aaron Rodgers ($22 million), but Rodgers, despite being limited to just nine games last season, was much more effective.

Using Pro Football Focus’ Quarterback Rating, which adjusts for drops, throw aways and spikes, along with the work a receiver does after the catch, we can see that Philadelphia Eagles’ Nick Foles was the NFL’s best bargain at quarterback last season. He completed 64 percent of his passes and lead the league in yards per catch (14.2) and touchdown percentage (8.5 percent of pass attempts led to the end zone) — all for less than $700,000. Seattle’s Russell Wilson wasn’t too far behind: a PFF QB rating of 91.84 and a Super Bowl ring for approximately $750,000. Are there two quarterbacks in the NFL happier about Kaepernick’s contract than they are?

But that’s the past: Is Kaepernick worth $126 million over the next six years?

Quarterbacks drafted in the first two rounds with at least three years of NFL experience by their 26th birthday tend to see their production stabilize over the next six seasons. That’s good news for 49ers fans.

Age # QBs Games Played Games Started Completion% Avg Yds Avg TDs Avg INTs Avg AV
26 40 11 10 59.8% 2205 14 10 7.8
27 37 10 10 62.1% 2185 13 8 7.8
28 36 11 10 61.6% 2420 15 9 7.9
29 34 8 8 61.9% 1661 10 6 5.9
30 30 9 8 62.2% 2122 13 7 7.6
31 25 11 10 61.2% 2249 14 10 7.0
32 23 11 9 61.4% 2334 14 10 7.3
Source: Pro-Football Reference

Here’s some more good news: among the pool of these quarterbacks, about one in 10 improve over their 26-year-old performance. In other words, the best of Kaepernick could be on the horizon.

“I really expect a real breakout year for Colin. Athletically, he looks bionic,” Jim Harbaugh said. “He has the look and feel of a guy who’s really going to break out, even more so than he already has.”

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