The confusing Colin Kaepernick trade carousel continues to have only one real piece of clarity: The 49ers obviously want to trade him.
Where and for what and for how much of a pay cut remains to be seen. Until then, it’s important to filter all reports through the reality that: (1) the 49ers clearly want to trade him; (2) no one is clamoring to get the deal done; and (3) the teams that are interested would like to get the deal done on the most favorable terms possible.
The latest new wrinkle comes from Mike Silver of NFL Network, who reports that the Broncos regard Kaepernick as being worth a fourth-round draft pick. The only problem, as pointed out by Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com, is that the Broncos don’t have a fourth round pick that can be traded.
Sure, they have a fourth-round compensatory pick. But the rule allowing trades of compensatory picks doesn’t kick in until 2017.
The Broncos do have the last non-compensatory pick in round three. The imbalance could be corrected with the 49ers sending a sixth-round or seventh-round pick back to the Broncos with Kaepernick in return for the third-rounder.
Even if the Broncos want Kaepernick, the question becomes whether they’ll pay him $12 million for 2016, or whether they’ll want to squeeze him to take less. The news also raises the possibility that the Browns, who reportedly are willing to send the 65th overall pick in the draft to San Francisco but aren’t willing to pay Kaepernick $12 million (it’s still hard to reconcile those two positions), will decide to drop the request for a new contract and just get the thing done.
Meanwhile, Kaepernick’s best play continues to be digging in his heels, expressing a desire to remain with the 49ers, and waiting for April 1. He’ll either see his $12 million salary become fully guaranteed or win the ability to join a new team without that team having to give up a draft pick to get him — which could make the new team willing to pay him more than whatever is currently on the table.