The 49ers announced that Colin Kaepernick will start at quarterback against the Bills this weekend, a decision that coach Chip Kelly said was made for football reasons and not because of an alteration to Kaepernick’s contract that eliminates the injury guarantees attached to his $14.5 million salary for next season.
Kaepernick said Tuesday that discussions about a revised deal are still going on and that he feels “no pressure” sign one before taking the field against the Bills. Kaepernick also said he didn’t know if his contract played a role in the 49ers’ decisions at quarterback up to this point and that his focus has been on his physical condition after having three surgeries this offseason.
“My biggest thing is trying to focus on strength and make sure I’m physically ready to play, whether that means my weight’s higher or lower,” Kaepernick said, via the San Francisco Chronicle. “I don’t think that’s a huge deal. It’s more where my strength is at and I feel very comfortable with that.”
Kelly said Tuesday that Kaepernick is not back to his pre-injury condition and has previously cited that as a reason why Kaepernick has been on the bench. It would also seem to be a concern given the injury guarantee, which would explain the push to get a new deal in place now.
Tom Pelissero of USA Today reports that a revised deal would leave Kaepernick set to become a free agent at the end of this season. That would make his run in the starting lineup an audition for more than a future with the Niners, although Kaepernick said only that it is “a great opportunity to go out and win some games” on Tuesday.