Chip Kelly’s deal to become UCLA’s head coach will save the 49ers approximately $7.5 million, according to a source familiar with his contract situation.
“Chip did the 49ers a solid,” the source told NBC Sports Bay Area.
The 49ers fired Kelly at the conclusion of the 2016 season after he served just one year of his four-year, $24 million contract. The 49ers’ future financial commitment to Kelly is offset by the contract he signed with UCLA.
UCLA on Saturday announced the agreement of a five-year, $23.3 million contract with Kelly. The school also announced a $9 million “reciprocal buyout,” which has no impact on the 49ers’ payments to Kelly. The reciprical buyout refers to the compensation required if UCLA fires Kelly or he leaves the school early for another job.
The source said Kelly and UCLA agreed to a contract structure in which Kelly receives standard percentage raises in his contract that is consistent with typical coaches contracts.
The 49ers’ four-year contract with Kelly averaged $6 million a year but was structured to provide 20-percent salary increased each year. Kelly’s deal with UCLA is similar with consistent raises scheduled for each season. Kelly and UCLA could have put together a contract with comparatively low base salaries in its first two years to force the 49ers to pay more, the source said.
The source did not provide the exact numbers of Kelly's contracts, but based on the typical pay raises, Kelly was scheduled to earn approximately $6.5 million in salary in 2018 – the amount guaranteed in his 49ers contract – with about $3.125 million coming from UCLA.
In 2019, UCLA will pay Kelly approximately $3.75 million while the 49ers make up the estimated remainder of his scheduled $7.7 salary from the deal he signed with San Francisco in January of 2016.
The 49ers would have owed Kelly approximately $14 million in salaries in 2018 and ’19, but UCLA will pay nearly half that amount, saving the 49ers close to $7.5 million.
Is your quarterback elite? Well, if you're a fan of the 49ers then no -- at least according to Chris Simms.
The NBC Sports football analyst couldn't confidently put Jimmy Garoppolo in the elite category, but still had plenty of praise toward him, especially knowing he plans on leading the 49ers to the Super Bowl.
"I think there's some quarterbacks in football right now: Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, DeShaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes -- they kind of stand alone," Simms said.
After that handful of quarterbacks, Simms highlights a group of "good," a squad that he considers Jimmy G to be a part of. Plus, Garoppolo has a lot of "good" surrounding him.
The elite talents of tight end George Kittle are something that shouldn't be argued -- unless you're not sure if he's a decent blocker or not. Ahem, Doug Gottlieb.
"That's all you need to win a Super Bowl," Simms added.
The consensus around Jimmy G's eliteness is that he's not elite, but he's not bad, but he's good enough.
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Got all of that?
His throwing abilities have been talked about, but once again the word "elite" was not mentioned.
A lot of times for athletes, it's not up to them whether or not they want to retire -- it's up to their body. For 49ers tackle Joe Staley, it's really no different.
"I like to think that I can continue to play football for as long as they'll have me," Staley said in an interview with 95.7 The Game on Thursday. "And that's my mindset. I've never thought about when an end is going to be."
The 35-year-old signed a two-year contract extension with San Francisco in June which ultimately means he could spend the entirety of his NFL career as a member of the 49ers. And while that seems like a long time, he's still soaking up the everyday grind of his job even with the setbacks he's faced this season.
"The challenges of this season have been different than seasons past," he said. "I love the adverse situations and you kind of learn a lot about yourself -- how you respond and challenge yourself daily with different goals ... "
Staley sustained a fractured left fibula earlier in the season during the Week 2 matchup against the Bengals and with a smile tried to remain positive but admitted: "it sucks." He was emotional after the injury but said that had a lot to do with how special the team was and the guys he was surrounded by.
Still, you can't fake the passion the six-time Pro Bowler brings to the 49ers and it appears you would have to pry the game away from his hands if you anticipate him hanging up his cleats any time soon.
[RELATED: How Jimmy G can enter record books in 49ers-Falcons]
"That love for the game is still there, burning," Staley said.
He finished the statement saying he doesn't have an honest answer as to just how much football is left in his body, but it's not something he's concentrating on at the moment.