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49ers GM says he wants Colin Kaepernick signed to a new deal before training camp

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A day after head coach Jim Harbaugh said that signing quarterback Colin Kaepernick to an extension was a “high priority” for the San Francisco 49ers, general manager Trent Baalke said Tuesday the organization would like to put pen to paper and get the deal done before the start of training camp rolls around in late July.

Baalke stressed the importance of sealing the deal while speaking to reporters at the NFL owners meetings in Orlando, Fla.

“We’re going to work extremely hard, very diligently in trying to get something done prior to training camp. That’s the objective right now, as it stands,” Baalke said, according to a CSN Bay Area report.

Harbaugh echoed those sentiments Monday, saying, “The priority is that Colin Kaepernick is a San Francisco 49er for however long we can have him be a San Francisco 49er. It’s definitely a high priority.”

CSN Bay Area further reports that team president Paraag Marathe has had preliminary discussions exploring the possible parameters of an extension with Scott Smith, Kaepernick’s agent.

It stands to reason why getting Kaepernick signed to an extension before camp is of the utmost priority, as Blaine Gabbert, Kaepernick’s backup, is poised to make a guaranteed $2.011 million. That number may turn into a troubling and divisive one as Kaepernick is scheduled to make about half that next season, $1.073 million in salary and bonuses. That’s an awkward situation that needs to be avoided.

The cost to keep Kaepernick in a 49ers uniform is expected to be in the range of $20 million per year. While that is an astronomical number for such a young quarterback, QBs who have led their team to a Super Bowl and two Conference Championshp Games in their first three seasons don’t come along often, if ever. Holding out and waiting to negotiate later rather than sooner, when other teams will be able to bid for his services, is more likely to increase that price, not lessen it.

Furthermore, the many distractions associated with Kaepernick playing out what could be considered a “lame duck” season as the team’s franchise quarterback heading into a possible foray into free agency isn’t an appealing one, either.