Holding pattern continues for Kaepernick, Bradford, Fitzpatrick

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The draft ended a week ago, without Colin Kaepernick, Sam Bradford, or Ryan Fitzpatrick changing teams. So what happens with each of them in 2016?

Glad you asked. Even if you didn’t.

Bradford wants out of Philly. The Eagles don’t want to trade him. Some think he may retire. Which would likely be a Carson Palmer-style retirement, with Bradford waiting until some other team decides to trade for him.

Fitzpatrick wants more from the Jets than the Jets are willing to pay. No one else has offered him anything close to what he wants. At some point, the Jets have to put their best offer on the table (maybe they already have), and Fitzpatrick will have to decide whether he’ll take $0.00 to not play or whatever the Jets are offering.

Of the three situations, the most ambiguous is unfolding (or not) in San Francisco. Nearly three months ago, Kaepernick asked for permission to seek a trade. He met twice with the Broncos; the fact that the 49ers allowed this to happen perhaps says all anyone needs to know about whether the 49ers truly want him back.

But Kaepernick wasn’t traded to Denver, the Broncos drafted Paxton Lynch in round one, and there’s apparently no one else interested in Kaepernick.

If any of these quarterbacks will be changing teams with meaningful preparation for the coming season, it needs to happen sooner than later. With Phase Three of the offseason program coming, any quarterback who’ll be learning a new offense needs to get started.

The one to watch is Kaepernick. As he moves toward receiving clearance to fully participate in football activities, the 49ers have to decide whether to embrace him or to move on. Once he sets foot on the practice field, Kaepernick is a fluke accident away from landing on injured reserve and costing the 49ers the full $11.9 million for 2016. Trading him would erase all (or at least part) of that responsibility.

Assuming there’s no trade partner for Kaepernick (at the point, the Jets or Bills are really the only ones to even remotely consider), the real question is whether the 49ers would simply cut Kaepernick. They’d still owe him the difference between whatever he’d earn elsewhere and the $11.9 million guaranteed salary, but that amount would be less than $11.9 million.

The smart move for each of these three guys at this point would be to make the most of their current situations.

36 responses to “Holding pattern continues for Kaepernick, Bradford, Fitzpatrick

  1. What could wind up happening is very similar to what happened to Carson Palmer:

    If Bradford sits and a team suffers a major QB injury and they think Bradford can keep them in contention, does a team do what the Raiders did in 2011 and trade two first-rounders for Bradford like the Raiders did for Palmer? Remember, Palmer had not really accomplished much when the Raiders made that trade.

  2. Of the three I’d say the least ambiguous is Kap. He and his agent played their hand and lost. The Niner front office (as dumb as they are) are not paying him 12 million to ride the pine and they brought in Kelly because his offense utilizes Kaps skill set.

    Also, what better way to increase your trade value than to redeem yourself after a horrific season. He has an uphill battle to win if he wants the starting job but I doubt he ends up in another uniform until next season.

  3. So we have Bradford who no one else wants demanding a trade because his feelings are hurt.
    Fitzpatrick looking for more when no one else is knocking in his door.
    And Kaepernick who at best can only be looked at as damaged goods at present.
    The one thing they all have in common besides the position they play? Little to no leverage and that in a QB driven league. Seems some like a few wake up calls are in order

  4. With regards to the Kapaernik situation, IF I were a GM, I would allow any player on the team to investigate for a trade if they wanted. No harm done because I get to set the value required for the trade. If the player finds someone willing to trade what I consider fair value plus a little…lol..maybe I trade. Had Denver offered three no 1’s and three no 2’s I am certain Kap would be a Bronco, even if he is not worth that.

    Maybe that is why I am not an NFL GM..LOL

  5. I’d rather the jets just play Geno than overpay Fitz and lose someone like mo Wilkerson as a result. Fitz was 100% product of the skill players on offense last year. I’m glad jets brass know this and are playing hardball.

  6. 1 – Bradford has no choice, even if he retired I think most teams would prefer to go with Kaepernick than Bradford, especially after he has so wilted over rookie competition.

    2 – Fitzpatrick has played his hand out, he has no value above what the Jets have offered. No sense in remaining unsigned, especially with July 4th and fireworks coming up.

    3 – Kaepernick should have agreed to a the pay cut the Broncos wanted, with an understanding that yhear 1 would be a prove it year. Then renegotiate a long term deal. But now Elway has soared on him, so he is stuck sitting on the 49ers bench until Kelly wears out the offense and places the blame on his QB. Then Kaep gets to play behind a worn out O-line in a mediocre talent offense with a terrible scheme, good luck.

  7. Kaepernick is going to get cut and I’ve said that for 4 months. I don’t believe leaks and lies, and I do believe he is going to be out of the NFL this time next year. He is that bad, and that stupid.

  8. I’d fork over some cash for Fitz but not as much as the 15 million he wants. Maybe meet him at 11 or 12 million but on a 1 year deal with a team option for a 2nd. That way Jets can cut him lose after 1 if Hackenberg is progressing well and retain him for another year if Hack still needs time to develop.

  9. Where’s the 11-12 million coming from? You’d have to release several players and re-do a few more contracts. Not so simple.

  10. Scenario #1 – the Jets pay Fitzpatrick 12MM, the Jets go 8-8, and don’t make the playoffs (they have a much harder schedule this year, playing teams like Seattle and Arizona rather than cream puffs).

    Schenario #2 – Fitz mopes and retires and the Jets go with Geno Smith, and save 11.6MM. The Jets lose an extra game and go 7-9 instead of 8-8, and still don’t make the playoffs.

    Now it’s after the season:
    Mohamed Wilkerson is now free since the Jets wont pay him JJ Watt/Suh money.

    Sheldon Richardson wants to get paid. Would having that extra 11.6MM available (that can be added to his guaranteed money) help keep him? 11.6 over 5 years, is almost 2MM/year. That could tip the balance.

    If the Jets aren’t making the playoffs, then no need to sign Fitz.

  11. Why does Bradford act like he some pro bowl QB. I rather take a chance on Nick Foles then take a overpriced often injured whiny little baby who shows no leadership skills on or off the field. Whine some more you little cry baby. To think your mad because the team you played for drafted a QB from the FBS! NOT D1 BUT THE FBS! Grow some balls and MAN UP!

  12. No way Kaepernick should agree to a pay cut.
    Let the 49ers cut him, and then go where he wants.

  13. The Eagles can contend in the NFC East next season with Bradford. They will lose a whole lot of games without him. The Browns have their first round pick next year.

    I don’t know what Bradford “should” do or what the Eagles “should” do in this situation. They all made a mess for themselves though. Both Bradford and the Eagles front office.


    The Jets can contend for a wild card spot in the AFC East with Fitzgerald. They will lose a whole lot of games without him.

    I don’t know whether or not the Jets should pay Fitzgerald what he wants or if Fitzgerald should buckle, but those are the facts of the situation.


    The Niners are going to lose a whole lot of games next season no matter what they do. They are stuck paying Kaepernick 11.9 million. Based on what I saw last year, he’s not good enough to beat out Blaine Gabbert. Kaepernick probably does not step on a football field this year and he’s cut next year. Niners pay him 11.9 million not to play this year. Maybe they cut him when he’s healthy and he finds a backup job somewhere on the cheap. But who cares. The Niners will lose a lot of games next season, and Kaep will make 11.9 million and not play. Nothing anybody can do can change those facts.

  14. People suggesting Kap will be the starter in SFO haven’t been paying attention. Chip loves Gab. Trent and Jeb have already shown they are inexperienced enough to somehow land in the position where the team wastes 14 million dollars on a back-up who doesn’t want to be there. End of story.

  15. Obviously the Eagles knew that Bradford was capable of this childish behavior, which is why they secured Chase Daniels as his “backup” while they planned the move-up to draft a QB. Let Bradford sit, pout, retire – for the season. They can then dump him next year and not take much of a hit. Daniels, a capable stop-gap (better than M. Sanchez in that offense) can start the season, if necessary, and then work Wentz in as full-time starter for next 10 years.

    Done and done.

  16. Er, one of these is not like the other 2. Kaepernick and Bradford aw guaranteed top dollar this year. Fitzpatrick is unsigned.

  17. Meanwhile, of these three teams’ current rosters, Blaine Gabbert by far has the most frustrating situation.

    However, from what I’ve read in here, he’s working his tail off getting ready, taking the leadership of a starting quarterback even among the uncertainy and the Niners’ obvious lack of commitment to him as the guy.

    Taking notes, Bratford?

    Eagles brass should give Bratford 48 hours to get his head out of his balloon knot and come lead his team, proving they wasted a high pick on a QB.
    (that’s any QB that high; no disrespect to Wentz.)
    After that, equal competition with him as the incumbent. Each day he fails to report is a game Wentz starts. If he’s actually foolish enough to let eight go by, might as well put Wentz as QB1 for the season.

    Fitz is just delusional. The greed is probably unavoidable at this level; it’s his judgment, shortsightedness and lack of critical thinking skills that are a huge red flag.

  18. Crapernick blew his opportunity to go to a solid team in the Broncos. Why he did not take a pay cut fore a 1 year ‘prove it’ deal we will probably never know. He could have had incentives added, like winning playoff games for additional salary and potentially recouped the salary difference. Denver will be decent next year regardless of who is QBing, Manning proved that last year, Denver could very easily find themselves back in the super bowl after their good draft that picked up even more D and yet another potential future franchise QB. Sanchez will be the starter for the Donkey’s this year, and he has playoff winning experience with the Jets, so don’t discount him like you did on the Bronco’s winning the super bowl last season (you all know who you are). I think that Sanchez today is better than Manning was last year.

  19. Jets can free up room by cutting Giacomini, Folk, Stacy, and a couple other low level players.

    Giacomini cut frees up about 4 million alone.

  20. For a guy with a Harvard degree Fitzpatrick is sure lacking in the common sense department. Average career back ups do not make 12 million a year.

  21. suhmonster90 says:
    May 7, 2016 1:13 PM
    Ian Rappaports unnamed sources told me the trades should be done by the end of the week.

    You and Ian know doodley squat.

  22. Fitz knows the jets can’t contend without him. They will have a losing record without him. So he will wait it out and try to get them to deal at $10 mil vs the 8 they want. If not he can probably sit back and retire with the $50 mil he’s already made. Why risk a few more surgeries or concussions when you have that kind of money in the bank?

  23. This article is a bit confusing. Kaepernick is guaranteed $11.9 million whether he is cut or not. If he is traded who pays what portion of the $11.9 million and other earning considerations in 2016 is negotiable. The Denver deal never got done because Denver only wanted to pay him $7 million period and Kaep rejected that knowing he gets $11.9 million at minimum no matter what.. And the longer Kaep stays in the Niners barn the more expensive he gets for the Niners.. If they cut him they would save approx. another $4 million in additional 2016 compensation. So the bottom line is whether Kaep is worth another $4 million in 2016 payments or not for SF? The rest of the league already said they don’t think he’s worth $11.9 million.. That likely will not change unless a rash of QB injuries occur making his services more valuable for a QB desperate team..

  24. No way I would pay fitz more than 7mil ,Smith can do what he did and do it much cheaper.The receivers made him look good.
    Bradford might as well suck it up and make the money,there will no one trading for him.
    Kap ,He played his cards right by sticking to his guns ,there was nothing to be gained ,only loose in what was offered.He get 11.9 no matter what ,and I would rather be cut ,So he could pick where he wanted to go.

  25. …….Bradford never steps back on the field for a real game in a Eagles uniform again…….the Eagles will trade him or his rights once that 1st QB in the league gets hurt in preseason……Cap gets cut soon…..Fritz uses his Harvard education and kisses and makes up with the Jets…….

  26. If you’re saying Geno Smith can do what Fitz did last season, they you just don’t remember how bad Geno Smith is. The Jets are a wildcard contender with Fitzpatrick next season. They are not without him. In today’s NFL that seems to worth about $15 million. The Jets don’t want to pay that much though because they are the only team in the NFL where Fitzpatrick is worth that much. Other teams are either set with their starter or are also trying to save money at the QB position. It’s an interesting negotiation. Is Fitzpatrick willing to retire?

  27. Kap will beat out Gabbert in training camp and have a banner year behind a real NFL offensive line and running an offense designed for his talents. People forget how great he can be. He’ll be more motivated than ever now to beat out Gabbert and demonstrate he was not only handicapped by three injuries requiring surgery, but by incompetent offensive coordinators.

  28. Quarterbacks are becoming just like any other player. They move around more than they used to and they get into public beefs with their teams and coaches. No one is suggesting the Seahawks have to cut or trade Kam Chancellor because he held out last year, why should Bradford or Kaepernick be any different?

  29. KAP should not take a $5MM cut!!! If Denver comes within $1MM, maybe Kap should fold, but no NFL player can be expected to leave that much money on the table. The Broncos obviously are not interested in making a commitment to him.

    FITZ is not worth what he is asking, BUT he should get a little more than they are offering. Hopefully they can meet in the middle.

    BRADFORD is being a jerk. Sure he’s had a lot a bad luck, but he’s made MILLIONS sitting in hot tubs!!! He should have to fight for a starting slot until he proves he can stay healthy. Why doesn’t he understand that if he plays well he will be a starter SOMEWHERE??? Who wants a QB who is afraid of a rookie???

  30. I wish retiredrichardsandberg was my agent, because he completely gets it…and tells it like it is!

    Johnny Manzeil
    Tim Tebow
    Vince young

  31. An unknown part of the equation is how much of a headache Bradford and Kaepernick are to their teams, and whether the headache is worth the potential of having them play this year… or whether they can put a dollar amount on that headache.

    For example, if the Eagles are tired of Bradford’s whining and just want to see him go away, it might be worth it to them to eat a few $M of his salary to make a trade more palatable to another team. Then you might see something like a trade to the Jets, where the Jets are only on the hook for $7M or $8M for this year.

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