The new collective bargaining agreement included a rookie wage scale that was meant to curb the excesses of ownership in providing monster salaries to unproven players. Arguably just as important was that a rookie wage scale would likely limit the number of holdouts normally seen each year. The 49ers dealt with that when Michael Crabtree felt he deserved more than they were offering, and plenty of teams have gone through similar situations.
Well, the 49ers have taken full advantage of the situation to handle their business. The team appears to be the first in the NFL to get all of their draft class signed, sealed and delivered. The 49ers have a lot of developmental prospects and getting them to camp as soon as possible was critical.
Top pick Aldon Smith and second round pick Colin Kaepernick were two of the most critical picks both for developmental reasons and logistical reasons. Smith is expected to step in to pass rush situations fairly quickly and is making a transition from defensive end to outside linebacker.
Kaepernick is being groomed as a long term QB option. For immediate purposes, he is the only QB on the 49ers roster if they elect to cut David Carr, as expected. Alex Smith can’t practice until August 4, so having Kaepernick under contract fills the need of having an actual quarterback in camp to throw passes. Unless Jim Harbaugh is loosening up his arm.