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49ers may already be stuck with Kaepernick’s 2016 salary

Kaepernick Getty Images

April Fool’s Day may have no relevance to the 49ers and Colin Kaepernick, after all.

The trio of offseason surgeries to Kaepernick (including a left shoulder procedure that landed him on IR in November) may have already tied the team’s hands as to the $11.9 million in salary owed to Kaepernick in 2016. Technically guaranteed for injury only until April 1, if the 49ers were to cut him while still injured they likely would owe him the money — even if Kaepernick later becomes healthy.

Per a source with knowledge of the NFL Players Association’s position on the matter, the union would argue that cutting Kaepernick before April 1, if he’s still injured, results in the salary becoming fully guaranteed and unavoidable, absent whatever offset the 49ers would receive if/when Kaepernick signs with another team in 2016. But he could take a one-year, minimum-salary deal elsewhere if he wanted, with the 49ers on the hook for the difference between what he gets in a new city and the $11.9 million.

Common sense would suggest that cutting Kaepernick before the salary becomes fully guaranteed would keep the team on the hook only if he’s still injured when the regular season arrives, since the money was guaranteed for injury only prior to April 1. But Article 44 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which sets forth the procedure for an injury grievance, generally defines the term broadly to encompass any situation in which a player contract is terminated at a time when the player “was physically unable to perform the services required of him by that contract because of an injury incurred in the performance of his services under that contract.”

In other words, if a player is injured at the time a payment becomes due or an existing obligation becomes fully guaranteed, he can’t be cut. If he is, he gets whatever money he would have earned if he hadn’t been cut.

On the surface, it’s irrelevant because the 49ers continue to say that they’re keeping Kaepernick beyond April 1. Which isn’t simply puffing, as one source with knowledge of the situation told PFT.

But the truth is that the 49ers, who aspire to “win with class,” apparently won’t be rolling the dice on the nothing-to-lose argument that ditching an injured Kaepernick before his salary becomes fully guaranteed avoids the obligation. It doesn’t mean he can’t later be traded, but whoever would acquire his services would be stuck with the full salary. And once the full salary becomes fully guaranteed, Kaepernick has far less of a reason to take less in order to facilitate a trade.

To summarize, the 49ers can dump Kaepernick and avoid the $11.9 million in guaranteed 2016 salary only if he passes a physical before Friday. Currently, there’s no indication that he’s able to do so.

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62 Responses to “49ers may already be stuck with Kaepernick’s 2016 salary”
  1. chc4 says: Mar 27, 2016 9:27 AM

    If my aunt had balls she’d be uncle. This is much ado about nothing b/c the 49ers aren’t cutting him.

  2. jwcarlson says: Mar 27, 2016 9:31 AM

    I want to see what Chipper can do with him anyway.

  3. filthymcnasty3 says: Mar 27, 2016 9:37 AM

    Remember back when his contract was considered a very “team friendly” deal?

  4. jjb0811 says: Mar 27, 2016 9:48 AM

    In today’s NFL, $11m for a QB isn’t outrageous. Keep him & Gabbert and draft a new one. Not hurting cap space at all.

  5. mrnick66 says: Mar 27, 2016 9:50 AM

    have to keep him for 2016 to see if he fits in with kellys scheme. you will know alot more by this time next year…one way or the other!!

  6. nhpats says: Mar 27, 2016 10:00 AM

    The Bengals should had snapped up Kap…..I guess they have resigned themselves to no playoff wins again this season

  7. streetyson says: Mar 27, 2016 10:08 AM

    Even though you keep telling everyone otherwise, buying a big tattoo will always last long enough for you to regret it, eventually.

  8. lynchhung23 says: Mar 27, 2016 10:09 AM

    Oh wow!!! Groundbreaking reporting. Great story with new info, thanks!

  9. suckafree9rs415 says: Mar 27, 2016 10:10 AM

    They don’t want to just “dump” Kap, they want to either trade him or have him compete for a job in Chip Kelley’s system.

    Pretty simple.

  10. sscl8888 says: Mar 27, 2016 10:33 AM

    In all honesty anything that makes the Yorks squirm makes me smile. This ought to p off Denise and john to think they are wasting bottled water money on Tomsula and kap. These days are worse then the post mooch dark ages as that took 10 years to get over. I think we are back to the moribito brothers days ( for newbies, they owned the 49er back in the bench seat Kezar days) where all of us season ticket owners knew we would never win a championship with the current owners. But then again weare blessed as we have the Bill Walsh Camelot memories and we have the Giants and Warriors ! Go Warriors!

  11. breadmeatcheese says: Mar 27, 2016 10:41 AM

    Unfortunately for Colin, Chipper favors his system over players strengths. And he has ZERO intrapersonal social skills. Reminds me exactly of Josh Mcdaniels. Going to be a long sweaty donkey show 49er fans. I feel your pain. Go Bears!

  12. nflgtcfl says: Mar 27, 2016 10:44 AM

    Keep him.

    He will come around …. if for no other reason out of
    selfishness.

    If he has a terrible attitude or plays poorly his next contract will be a bottom feeder deal.

  13. allforfunnplay says: Mar 27, 2016 10:53 AM

    good lord, it’s not like $11M is that huge for a starting QB. Obviously he’s struggled so he’s not a “franchise” QB. But if Sam Bradford can get $17M with $22M guaranteed and Oswieler gets $18M a year with $37M guaranteed then Kapernick who at at least was at one time successful should be worth $11M.

  14. kamthechancellor says: Mar 27, 2016 10:57 AM

    Kaep is a joke. Just like the niners…just like their fans. Karma is a beautiful thing.

  15. xxbarklikeadogxx says: Mar 27, 2016 10:59 AM

    Even if they keep him, 9ers still don’t have a QB.

  16. seatownballers says: Mar 27, 2016 11:06 AM

    No one can mock the niners over this. Kaep, gabbert, and whatever rookie they draft will still be cheaper than if they paid a free agent qb 18 mill a year

  17. koudoes says: Mar 27, 2016 11:08 AM

    Y would they cut him and they had offers. Article makes no sense other than to educate on the collective bargaining agreement.

  18. drs12522 says: Mar 27, 2016 11:19 AM

    I guess the 49er brass outthought themselves. LOL! Are the 49ers becoming the new Cleveland Browns. They fire their handpicked in-house Head Coach after one year. They give Kaepernick franchise QB money and then send mixed signals about keeping him. They hire a retread Head Coach who ruined his previous organization by inexplicably trading away the best players for his system. Are the 49ers the new Cleveland Browns?????

  19. trubroncfan07 says: Mar 27, 2016 11:28 AM

    Niners tried to play hard ball with Denver and now they are stuck with Kaep, should have taken a 5th round pick for him.

  20. austindudero says: Mar 27, 2016 11:35 AM

    > allforfunnplay says:
    > Mar 27, 2016 10:53 AM
    > good lord, it’s not like $11M is that huge for a starting
    > QB. … Kapernick who at at least was at one time
    > successful should be worth $11M.

    And yet Fitzmagic is only being offered $7m / yr after the year he had last year. Throw in Forte, a returning B-Marsh / Decker, and Fitzy would be very likely to improve on last year, admittedly in Chan Gailey’s system though.

    Makes you wonder what these “genius” NFL GM’s are thinking in valuing QB’s.

  21. braceyourselffor12 says: Mar 27, 2016 11:37 AM

    kamthechancellor says:
    Mar 27, 2016 10:57 AM

    Kaep is a joke. Just like the niners…just like their fans. Karma is a beautiful thing.

    —————————————————————-

    Everything about the Seahacks is a cruel joke. From the lame nicknames you give your overrated players to the ripped off title for your bandwagon fans.

    The most memorable thing about your sad franchise is how you blew a Super Bowl with a bone headed call and Richard Sherman’s ensuing tears. Karma is a beautiful thing indeed.

  22. phatalerror says: Mar 27, 2016 11:46 AM

    Would Kaepernick have been able to pass his physical if he hadn’t delayed in having the thumb or knee procedures? Probably. That was deliberate on Kaepernick’s part: A shameless money grab by a quarterback doomed to sit on the bench in 2016 because he never really improved from his rookie days.

    #nomorekaepologies
    #nomorethrowingrunningbacks
    #7tormsleaving

  23. doggeatdogg says: Mar 27, 2016 12:00 PM

    This is a non-story. The team was never going to get rid of him so what does the salary matter. Certainly the team is not concerned about it

  24. raiderrob21 says: Mar 27, 2016 12:16 PM

    Keeping a guy they benched, you were trying to trade but couldn’t, and does not want to be there is a recipe for success and always works. Expect more of the same next year from this dumpster fire in Santa Clara, probably worse!

  25. quicktaker says: Mar 27, 2016 12:36 PM

    11.9 million dollars is not a lot of money to any team. I don’t understand why the Jets, Bills, Bears, Broncos, or Rams don’t pick him up. Kap is potentially could improve these teams greatly. If he stinks, so what, one year lost but at least he brings hope. Isn’t a season with Gino, Cutler, Sanchez, or Keenum a waste of time?

  26. raiderlyfe510 says: Mar 27, 2016 12:48 PM

    Who cares they have like a billion dollars in cap space and are not using it to buy any “pay-as-you-go” free agents with front loaded contracts to reaching the mandatory spending so they have to spend that money somewhere.

  27. abninf says: Mar 27, 2016 12:53 PM

    Unions. They’re great for a business owner. LOL

  28. imnotsorryisaidthat says: Mar 27, 2016 12:54 PM

    the real question is does anyone besides a few ex ducks want to play for Kelly in this league

  29. radrntn says: Mar 27, 2016 12:56 PM

    I have been saying that all along…..and with that said the 49ers will be lucky if Goff is still on the board when it is their turn to pick. I would draft a QB, and if Kap does not perform you can cut him next year and it only cost 4.9 million in dead space, but saves 15 million….just need to bite the bullet this year.

  30. raiderlyfe510 says: Mar 27, 2016 12:58 PM

    imnotsorryisaidthat says:
    Mar 27, 2016 12:54 PM
    the real question is does anyone besides a few ex ducks want to play for Kelly in this league
    ———————————————————————

    Yes…every draft prospect in this NFL draft class and future draft classes. That’s why you build through the draft and not with old Free Agent Vets that are stuck in their ways.

  31. shlort says: Mar 27, 2016 1:10 PM

    Some of you who “want to see what he can do” do understand that Kaepernick’s major problem is that he cannot play the position when required to be a passer? That is his downfall and what everyone talks about when the conversation turns to Kaepernick. His ability to read defenses, throw into coverage and tell where his receivers will be are well below par.

    When he could run the read option (before that became an ineffective scheme in the NFL) and the 49ers Defense was giving him extra possessions and good field position (even accounting for a score on the board) and Gore was in his prime, Kaepernick got all the credit. Now that the defense has lost it’s edge (guys retiring, free agency etc.) Gore is no longer there and the read option is not effective, Kaepernick has been on the bench. He is on the bench because he is not a very good quarterback. If Gabbert can take your job…. Think about it.

  32. bert1913 says: Mar 27, 2016 1:33 PM

    at least teach him to pretend to make a second read before running.

  33. jikkle49 says: Mar 27, 2016 1:43 PM

    They aren’t going to release him anyways.

    A deal to the Broncos could easily be done if they take a future 4th for Kap right now.

    The reason a deal hasn’t been done is both sides are hoping to outlast the other and get the better end of the deal.

  34. zinnsand21 says: Mar 27, 2016 1:50 PM

    Mike Florio you have it right. There are a couple of ways a trade could happen. If not medically cleared he could agree to an injury settlement and be outright released. If he becomes medically cleared he could agree to restructure his contract within the confines of a trade. At this point it is pure conjecture what will occur.. If Kap stays; beats out Gabbert and plays well for Chip all is well for the next few years. If he gets beat out by Gabbert or plays poorly as the starter he will be cut with a career officially on fumes.. IMO, Kap’s best outcome would be to be traded to Denver and work with a sound football team and a coach/GM who will get out whatever Colin has to offer..

  35. kingcrusher says: Mar 27, 2016 1:52 PM

    Almost makes me feel bad, but in this case, I can’t feel bad for either, so I’m stuck feeling so indifferent about the whole situation. Can’t stand Cap, and cant’ stand what my 9er organization has become considering how they were a step away from greatness once again. Grrrrrr….. Just frustrating!!!!

  36. illogicalvoicesinmyhead says: Mar 27, 2016 1:58 PM

    trubroncfan07 says:
    Mar 27, 2016 11:28 AM
    Niners tried to play hard ball with Denver and now they are stuck with Kaep, should have taken a 5th round pick for him.
    =====
    And the Donkeys are stuck with Dirty Sanchez, lmao. I’d take the bicep kisser over Buttfumble in a heartbeat!

  37. hazmatt23 says: Mar 27, 2016 2:00 PM

    This is my ignorance of how contracts and the CBA work, but hypothetically, if the Niners releases him and would be on the hook for the balance of the guarantee, what would stop his new team and him from agreeing to the absolute minimum for the first year of the contract? San Francisco has to pay him more and he count less towards the new teams cap, right?

  38. niners806 says: Mar 27, 2016 2:01 PM

    Florio telling everybody what we a already knew lol That’s why I said a month back how can there be any pressure on the 49ers for the April 1st deadline when I knew that he still has to pass a physical.

  39. arock49 says: Mar 27, 2016 2:01 PM

    I’m a Niner fan… And honesty being close to the situation and reading/listening/watching as much as I have on this, it’s not all about are the Niners going to keep him, because they WILL if the compensation is not there in return…. (remember this was a request by his agent and not Balke) my BIGGEST concern if we do end up keeping him is whether or not his teammates respond to him at this point and will they truly get behind him if does end up being the starter again….(There was some serious dismay within that locker room before he got benched)…. truth

  40. arock49 says: Mar 27, 2016 2:15 PM

    Niners806..
    Totally! LMAO… Thought this was common knowledge

  41. aiiyiiyiii says: Mar 27, 2016 2:46 PM

    Sure they have the cap room, but nobody wants to pay an unhappy, unpopular, ineffective player the highest salary on the team. They’ve already got a better qb, and believe it or not, it’s Blaine Gabbert.

    Kap doesn’t want to compete with Gabbert for the starting job, and if he did, he likely wouldn’t win it. The team doesn’t want Kap either. The players don’t like him. Nobody wants to see his mopey face.

    Chip Kelly wants a QB “who makes smart, quick decisions with the ball” and who has “repetitive accuracy.” That doesn’t describe Kap. The people who say Kap would be great in Kelly’s system aren’t thinking this through.

    Keeping him past April 1 and trading him on draft day, paying part of his salary for the acquiring team, looks like they plan.

  42. Voidhelix says: Mar 27, 2016 3:09 PM

    Her`ll be traded to Denver on draft day for a 4th round pick.

  43. edelmanfanclub says: Mar 27, 2016 3:47 PM

    A lot of users on this website have pointed out that caveat in his contract since he went on IR. Funny enough while people could see if from a mile away, the 9ers couldnt do much to stop it.

  44. niners806 says: Mar 27, 2016 4:16 PM

    Yes Florio I’m sure the 49ers know the CBA rules otherwise they would’ve probably cut him right after the season but when you have a desperate team like the Broncos who are trying to sell there fan base that butt fumble is there QB for 2016 why not dangle him out there.

  45. csbanter says: Mar 27, 2016 4:27 PM

    The Broncos are going to shock the world and make a play for one of the 2016 NFL draft QB’s. Kap will be a 49er and find himself on the hotseat from the outset. Chip Kelly will eventually weed him out and Blaine Gabbert will be your starting QB for the foreseeable future.

  46. tylawspick6 says: Mar 27, 2016 4:56 PM

    LMAO Elway and the Jets.

    Elway and the Jets…bah-bah-bah-da-ba….

    Each will now be bidding for Fitzpatrick, putting their re-arranging the chairs on the Titanic teambuild approach into high gear.

    Absolutely priceless.

  47. bigbroncomama says: Mar 27, 2016 5:20 PM

    Chippy got rid of his best players in Philly. Now he is keeping his worst players in Frisco. The dude is mad I tell ya, crazy mad!

  48. NJ49er says: Mar 27, 2016 6:03 PM

    If Kaep isn’t willing to compete with Gabbert to take advantage of the Contract he already signed, what’s that telling us?
    A QB is expected to LEAD.

    If he’s attempting to force his way out, this is what his Camp should have been prepared for, low-ball offers.
    He’s got no leverage, he’s carrying a large Contract and, he’s showing signs of quitting on the deal he signed.
    I see this as a very real possibility that, the reports involving Aldon, Nessa and Kaep may be at the core of this meltdown?

    Break the Bro Code, lose your teammates.

    If he has a pair, he’ll fight for his money in SF.
    If he can’t beat Gabbert, he’s useless anyway.
    My guess?
    He’ll be cleared medically to compete.

    If he loses out, he’ll get IR’d again and likely lose some of the money he expects to take, depending on the language of his deal.
    He was required to insure himself as part of the deal he’s working under, with the Team getting the benefits protection.
    His Agents made this deal, and they’ve now found it to be less than desirable.

    Good luck impressing a future suitor with this charade of leadership qualities.
    He could find himself in bubble wrap, on the sideline all year, just like RG III.

  49. eagleslakers says: Mar 27, 2016 6:53 PM

    “was physically unable to perform the services required of him by that contract because of an injury incurred in the performance of his services under that contract.”

    If I’m the 49ers I’d argue that article 44 doesn’t apply if Kaepernick is cut before April 1st because the contract does not require him to perform services at this time. This is the offseason, coaches aren’t even allowed to talk shop with a player. His contract does not require any services right now. Now if the 49ers’ offseason workouts began before the April 1st date and Kaepernick was cut sometime between that date and April 1st, then yeah article 44 applies.

    I’m not saying the 49ers would have an open-and-shut case but it’s an arguable point.

  50. macwash73 says: Mar 27, 2016 7:05 PM

    It seems like the only people that want Kap traded more than his agents is the media!

  51. niners806 says: Mar 27, 2016 7:21 PM

    To Raiderlyfe510

    Oh because the Raiders know so much about success lmao! Hang on there buddy just concentrate on getting over 500 first lol

  52. GrantRodgers says: Mar 27, 2016 7:58 PM

    Interesting point, but something doesn’t add up. If the Niners are stuck with Kap’s salary, then why didn’t he rework his deal with Cleveland when they reportedly offered the Niners what they were asking for pending a restructured deal? Is that because the restructuring would have to be done by the Niners?

  53. sl5150 says: Mar 27, 2016 8:43 PM

    Would much rather pay him that even to backup for a year. Then pay unproven Osweiler to start

  54. mogogo1 says: Mar 27, 2016 9:00 PM

    “11.9 million dollars is not a lot of money to any team. I don’t understand why the Jets, Bills, Bears, Broncos, or Rams don’t pick him up.”
    ___

    Pretty easy to understand: It’s not up to the other teams; they need the Niners to agree to trade him. So far, the offers have made the Niners think they are ahead keeping him and seeing if he can flourish in Chip’s system.

  55. maestro1899 says: Mar 27, 2016 9:27 PM

    This is news?

    When we heard Kaep needed shoulder surgery last season, it was reported that he wouldn’t be able to pass a physical on April 1 It was a foregone conclussion he was going to be on the 2016 roster, unless another team wanted to trade for him (and his current contract, unless he renegotiated).

    With the 49ers having tons of salary cap space and his salary being all but guaranteed for 2016, there is absolutely no incentive for SF to cut him (and still owe him his 2016 salary).

  56. time2speakup says: Mar 27, 2016 9:29 PM

    This article, its premise, the whole enchilada is a medium ta-doo about nothing really. Baalke has said it as plain as can be that Kaep is going no place and………….. aw, what the hell – I’m wasting my time

  57. cakesw says: Mar 28, 2016 9:38 AM

    Repent everyone….

    When the Raiders front office is by far the best of the bay area…

    Bad things might be upon us.

  58. seanpscott says: Mar 28, 2016 11:33 AM

    People that comment about a player wanting to be traded and the team refusing to do so never works huh? Well I live in LA and do people forget what Kobe Bryant was doing about 10 years ago? Not saying Kaep is Kobe by any means just saying if a player wants to be traded and doesn’t it can still work out. Niners have plenty of cap space so the contract is no issue. If we could trade him to the Jets somehow for Muhammad Wilkerson and a draft pick I’d gladly do so. But Kaep could be great in Kelly’s system and Gabbert could do well too. Might as well give it a shot!

  59. colt13 says: Mar 28, 2016 12:17 PM

    I have no idea what the 49ers want. As we saw with RG3, teams can stash a QB as an inactive to keep him from getting hurt. So Kaep probably stays. Is he healthy enough this year for Kelly to learn anything about him? Probably not. Does Goff fit Kelly’s system? Maybe. It should be noted for all of the talk about his Oregon stint, the first QB Kelly got to the NFL was Ricky Santos from UNH, who had a cup of coffee with the Chiefs and went to the CFL. Santos avg 33 pass att and 10 rush att per game. Worked with Dixon, Masoli and Thomas before Mariota. Marquise Williams of UNC fits his system more than anybody else in this draft.

  60. concretejimmy52 says: Mar 28, 2016 12:41 PM

    Isn’t a 5th round pick in a trade too high?

  61. concretejimmy52 says: Mar 28, 2016 12:49 PM

    You heard it hear. Chip wants to move up to the #1 spot to steal Wentz from the Browns. Whether or not Baalke approves or not is the question. Goff should be there at #7. And they won’t have to sell the farm to do it like last year when the Eagles had the 20th pick and Chip wanted Mariotta. The asking price was too high and another team (Browns) had the 12th pick and Kelly wanted Bradford for trade bait. Titans didn’t bite. But the Titans would like to have more picks and would still be drafting at #7. They can get an OL there and more picks instead of wasting a #1 pick on OL Tunsil. 49ers have ten picks in this draft.

  62. JSpicoli says: Mar 28, 2016 1:31 PM

    I’ve been plastering the interwebs for 2 months with the fact that he has no value.

    Told you so.

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