After the agents representing quarterback Colin Kaepernick began telling reporters that they have requested permission to seek a trade, the 49ers had no immediate comment. And they had no eventual comment.
They still have no direct comment on the matter. Instead, owner Jed York has provided a general comment to a hand-picked member of the Bay Area media expressing the team’s desire to keep Kaepernick around.
“All I can tell you is that the last conversation I had with Kap was a good conversation,” York told Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News. “I asked how he was feeling. I hope he’s doing well. I care about his health and well-being because I think he can be a big piece of what we’re doing, going forward.”
That’s fine, Jed. But did Colin’s agents asked for permission to seek a trade? Will you be granting that request? Or are you merely feigning interest in keeping Kaepernick either to conceal whatever plan Chip Kelly has up his sleeve (e.g., a second annual unexpected acquisition of Sam Bradford) or to enhance leverage for trade talks, or both? (The 49ers would never answer that last question, but it’s fair to wonder whether that’s what’s occurring.)
As explained after Kaepernick’s agents decided to publicly upset the proverbial applecart, their move undermines the apparent effort to drive trade value for Kaepernick by reversing the perception that the team wants to move on from him. Failure to give Kaepernick’s agents permission to seek a trade is the only way to preserve the upper hand, with any interested team still required to make the first move by calling the 49ers and asking, “What will it take to get Kaepernick?”
Now with the report that the Browns and Texans are interested in trading for Kaepernick, our guess is that the team is leaking this in order to prime the pump for phone calls to be made. In this regard, the team to watch is the Broncos, who could have Kaepernick near the top of the fallback list if they decide not to pay Brock Osweiler as much as he can get elsewhere.