Publicly, Jason La Canfora is an NFL insider. Privately, he’s a diehard soccer fan.
“I won’t actually be in Brazil, much to my chagrin – although I certainly made a pitch to the powers that be,” the CBSSports.com writer said on The Morning Show. “But yeah, I love soccer. Always have. I covered soccer when I was at the Washington Post, and I’m really excited about the World Cup. I can’t wait for it to get started.”
Many Americans feel the same way – even though they know the U.S. doesn’t have much of a chance.
“We’re not going to win the World Cup,” La Canfora said. “I do think the U.S. can advance from what is a very tricky and dangerous group. I have a lot of faith in the coach. I have a lot of faith in their dedication and their willingness to kind of say, ‘Screw the odds. Let’s just go out there and play our game a little bit.’”
While the group is tough and the travel will be long for the Americans, La Canfora loves their schedule.
“It’s certainly a Group of Death; it won’t be easy,” he said. “But if you can beat Ghana and you can get a point off Portugal – which, Cristiano Ronaldo is ailing right now – (we have a chance to advance).”
Especially if Germany has already clinched the group and decides to take it easy on the U.S.
“Jurgen Klinsmann is one of their all-time soccer heroes, a former World Cup winner,” La Canfora said. “If Germany already has the group clinched by the time we play them in the third game, (maybe we could advance).”
Moving from futbol to football, Colin Kaepernick signed a lucrative – albeit complicated – extension with the San Francisco 49ers this week. Essentially, the deal is worth a maximum of $126 million through 2020, but it could also decrease to $114 million, performance pending. The deal does include $61 million in guaranteed money, but Kaepernick will only get $28 million over the next two years, $44 million over the next three, $63 million over the next four and $82 million over the next five.
That’s a five-year average of $16.4 million, which is essentially the franchise-tag price for present-day quarterbacks.
“The more layers of the onion you start peeling back, the more complicated it gets, and the more you can make an argument for either side having gotten most of what they want,” La Canfora said. “Certainly when you look at the first three years of the deal – and even the first five years of the deal – the numbers there, to me, are very team-favorable.”
“I’m not in love with some of the escalator language, I have to say. For his sake, I hope he maxes this thing out, and I hope he does achieve over $20 million a year, but it’s going to take playing out the whole contract to do it. Upfront, there’s not much of a commitment in terms of guaranteed money for the team. It’s basically $13 million in year one and $28 million over the first two years. They can live with that. They’re kind of still renting him for a few years.”