Will Kaepernick play for the 49ers this year?

AP

In February, it became clear that quarterback Colin Kaepernick wanted out of San Francisco. In March, a trade to Denver nearly happened.

The calendar now says August, and it’s hardly a certainty that Kaepernick will be a member of the 49ers in 2016 or, if he is, that he’ll actually play.

Kaepernick continues to be bound to the 49ers by a contract that appeared to be team friendly when it was signed but that, given a pair of subpar seasons, has swung the other way. For 2016, Kaepernick will make $11.9 million fully guaranteed, an obligation the team couldn’t have avoided by cutting him before the payment vested on April 1 because Kaepernick was injured.

The potential trade to the Broncos cratered because Kaepernick refused to slash his salary and the 49ers declined to pay a large chunk of it in order to facilitate the deal. With the season approaching, the 49ers would surely entertain unloading the salary if a starting quarterback with another team (I won’t name names in order to avoid being accused to applying a jinx, hex, and/or kibosh) suffers a serious injury in the preseason. The 49ers also could cut Kaepernick before Week One. They’d owe him $11.9 million, minus whatever he makes with another team — which at this point probably wouldn’t be much.

Absent a trade or a willingness to pay Kaepernick a lot of money to go away, the 49ers have the RGIII option at their disposal. That would entail putting Kaepernick on the bench and keeping him in bubble wrap so that, come 2017, they won’t be strapped with a fully-guaranteed $14.5 million obligation that can’t be avoided before April 1 if he’s injured, again.

That’s why it’s tempting to view this chatter about a “dead arm” as a way to get Blaine Gabbert ready for Week One without declaring Kaepernick to be No. 2 at best, which in turn would diminish his potential trade value. (Then again, the “dead arm” thing likely doesn’t help matters.) With each practice and preseason game that Kaepernick doesn’t participate in, the question becomes whether he’ll simply be paid $11.9 million not to play this year, so that the team can avoid paying him $14.5 million next year.

Regardless of whether it’s the approach the team takes, it’s the best business decision if coach Chip Kelly has decided that Kaepernick’s skills don’t justify the financial commitment — which is precisely the decision Kelly previously made in Philadelphia about receiver DeSean Jackson and running back LeSean McCoy. The only real question becomes whether they pay him $11.9 million to sit on the bench, or whether they give him $11.9 million (less whatever he’d made as a free agent) to go away.

43 responses to “Will Kaepernick play for the 49ers this year?

  1. Would I take almost $12 million to work for one year in a company where I knew I would never be given any work because my new bosses hated me?

    You damn sure bet I would.

  2. Kaepernick has already proven that he can lead a decent team to the super bowl. There are a few decent teams that are missing a good QB. We also know Kaepernick would like to get out of San Francisco. This is an interesting article by Mr. Florio.

  3. Not sure why they would pay him to go away when he is being a good soldier–They can easily dump him/trade him after the season and still avoid any other financial commitment while keeping a potentially decent fit for Kelly’s offense in the fold, especially with Thad Lewis going down.

  4. By no means am I a supporter of #7 but c’mon Florio. The man was barely cleared for all football activities just as recently as 3 & a half weeks ago. I cannot think of an athlete who was under the knife 3 different times in a 9 month span who returned to full health by week 1 of the preseason. As opposed to Gabbert, who has not been injured since week 5 of the 2013 season.

    Is it crazy to think it just might be Kaep fighting some last minute bumps & bruises on his road to health?

    This article is a non-story. Go 49ers

  5. Kaep will not be released or traded. Especially now that Thad Lewis tore his ACL they won’t roll into a season with just Gabbert and a 6th round rookie QB. He would at least be a valuable backup this year if he doesn’t win the job

  6. Say what you want about Kap, his floor will always be higher than Gabberts ceiling.
    Get well soon man and make all these haters eat it.

    Regardless, it’s always gonna be SF 49ers FAITHFUL FOR LIFE!!!

  7. Kaep makes the trip to Denver this week to audition in practices for Elway.
    And, why was Sanchez mysteriously signed, immediately after Kaep turned down the low-ball offer in the off-season?
    Chip bait?

    I could see a scenario, where Kaep loses the battle, to regain his starting job from Gabbert too.

    All these ingredients make for a convenient late Summer decision, to swap Sanchez for Kaep and, whatever other compensation can be reached.

  8. Hardly a certainty that he’ll be a Niner for the 2016 season?

    Reasons he will be a Niner:

    1) He’s already been paid. Doubt they’d release him for this reason.

    2) Gabbert didn’t exactly light it up last night.

    3) SF’s likely 3rd stringer tore his ACL last night.

    Release Kaep and you’re down to “themediocregabbert” and Jeff Driskel at QB.

  9. I find it interesting when Kap was signed, the agents, writers, public groaned at how team friendly the deal was…
    Not anymore…
    I feel for Kap, but he is another running Qb, and they never last. No idea if he can make the transition to a pocket Qb…time will tell.
    Like RG111, if they had learned to play in the pocket, they would be healthy.
    Fun to watch them run around though…for their lives.

  10. There’s no way the release or trade Kaep, Blaine didn’t play that well! I like the Driskel kid, he looks to be a good option down the road, but not now. So you release Kaep to be a back-up for someone else? You paid…so whether he starts or sits, he will be with the Niners.

  11. He was a solid QB when he had a decent coach. Last year the Niners had a coach that had no business holding the title. I wouldn’t judge him based on last year.

  12. Wow
    Eating almost 12 million over Jimmy Durante Krappernink: embarrassing
    Being forced to start Mullethead Gabbert: ultra-embarrassing

    Tough time to be a high tech homeless hippie on Haight St.

  13. Not surprising to see these niner fans holding on to the thought that kaperchoke is any good. They believed harbaugh when he said “nobody has it better”. These guys will believe anything.

  14. “Regardless of whether it’s the approach the team takes, it’s the best business decision if coach Chip Kelly has decided that Kaepernick’s skills don’t justify the financial commitment…”

    I’ve mentioned this point before, and apparently I was wrong back then even though nobody corrected me last time, so please correct me now if I’m still wrong:

    Chip took this job knowing that Baalke is firmly in charge of the roster and the related “financial commitments”.

    Read into that what you will…

  15. This could be an interesting test of wills. Who’s going to be first to show their hand. The 49ers hate Kaepernick, and Kaepernick hates the 49ers. They’re kind of stuck with each other for the moment. This all happened long before Chip Kelly came to town. A lot happened. Kelly is stuck in the middle. Kelly was hired to steady the ship. Good luck with this one Chip.

  16. Kaepernick is not going to play one down ever again for the 49ers. He was a Harbaugh guy, and the team has already proven that they have priorities that don’t always lead to winning on the field. Kaepernick knows that he is highly coveted by GMs (including super bowl winning GM). He is not going to risk getting hurt, and neither are the 49ers. It doesn’t have to make sense. It’s the 49ers.

  17. Man can we give this guy a chance to get back to health before we bury him? I’m not a fan of his in the least but he did lead a team to almost a super bowl victory what, 3 years ago? If this guy can get healthy and really pick up Kelly’s system, it could be a lot of fun to watch. For him to be successful, he needs to be in the right system and have the right leadership around him. I do like Kelly’s system with Kap’s skills but Kelly’s leadership is not in the same league as Harbaugh’s.

  18. spartan01 says:
    Aug 15, 2016 10:37 PM

    Chip Kelly will destroy this team too. Just give it a couple years.

    __________________________________

    What planet are you from, the Niners are already destroyed….Kelly is just there to keep them that way

  19. bleedingfacemask says:
    Aug 16, 2016 3:15 AM
    “Regardless of whether it’s the approach the team takes, it’s the best business decision if coach Chip Kelly has decided that Kaepernick’s skills don’t justify the financial commitment…”

    I’ve mentioned this point before, and apparently I was wrong back then even though nobody corrected me last time, so please correct me now if I’m still wrong:

    Chip took this job knowing that Baalke is firmly in charge of the roster and the related “financial commitments”.

    Read into that what you will.

    _______________________________________

    I’ll take a stab at it. I think Chip wanted to make sure he got back “in” regardless of the situation. I think he knew he had built enough “cache” to land another gig, but on different terms.

    Basically he’s going to take lemons and see if he can come with some great lemonade. Not in anyway meaning he doesn’t have anything to work with. The 49er’s got talent but their front office business is bad. Check my handle, I know!!

    Chip will ride this out as long as he has to. And the Kaep drama has been going on too long. This is like bad “Al Davis ” movie or something.

    In regards to Kaep, both sides know the situation and during the offseason tried to play a little poker but when the bluff was called, they walked away. As long as Kaep is there, if need be, they will play him if only out of spite and that $12 mil price tag on em’ this year.

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