Publicly at least, the 49ers are continuing to claim they plan to keep quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
The latest such claim came from an unnamed source to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com, stating the same thing that General Manager Trent Baalke said at the Scouting Combine: The 49ers are planning on Kaepernick remaining on the roster and competing with Blaine Gabbert for the starting job.
“There’s a good chance he’s still on the team the way things look now,” a source told CSNBayArea.com early Thursday.
Of course, even if the 49ers don’t plan to keep Kaepernick, the smart thing to say now is that they want him. If they acknowledged publicly that they’re ready to move on from Kaepernick, they’d lose leverage in trade talks.
And Maiocco’s report says the 49ers are, in fact, open to a trade. The only issue is that they want a draft pick in the second or third round for Kaepernick, and so far trade talks with the Browns, Broncos and Jets have not yielded an offer that good.
So for now, anyway, the 49ers’ plan to keep Kaepernick seems more about a lack of good offers for him than a true commitment to him. We’ll get a better feel for the situation on April 1, when Kaepernick’s $11.9 million salary becomes fully guaranteed — if he’s still on the roster.