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On Tuesday, a very random report by Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News emerged onto the scene. The article stated that, according to a source, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick wants out of San Francisco and had a desire to play for the New York Jets. He even stated that the "Jets are aware and intrigued by Kaepernick's desire to play for them."
Today, according to Dom Cosentino of New Jersey On-Line, an anonymous source that is familiar with the situation said that there was no truth to this rumor. "No," the person said. "Nothing. No idea where it came from." The source called the report a "Random, strange article."
The original article that started the rumors was strange for a number of reasons. The biggest being Kaepernick's 2016 base salary of $11.9 million, which becomes fully guaranteed on April 1. The Jets are not in a healthy cap position to take on such a hefty salary and re-sign some of their own key free agents, even if some of that salary is picked up by the 49ers.
There are a number of teams like the Cleveland Browns and Houston Texans that have been rumored to be interested in Kaepernick and they are cap healthy. Even the AFC Champion Denver Broncos were rumored to be a possibility at one point. They were willing to make a trade for 49ers tight end Vernon Davis and both teams' general managers have a good relationship with each other.
The Jets would also like to re-sign 2015 starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is a pending free agent. Both Fitzpatrick and the Jets have stated that they want to work a deal out that will keep the quarterback in New York. At this point, according to reports, it seems highly unlikely that a deal doesn't happen. They also have Geno Smith at quarterback.
New York's top receiver, Brandon Marshall, didn't seem too thrilled at the prospect of Kaepernick joining the Jets either. "I don't want Kaepernick," Marshall stated Tuesday on ESPN's First Take. "I think he's good, but my guy is [Ryan Fitzpatrick], it's nothing against Kaepernick – and Geno [Smith] is still my guy too. What I am saying is that I have my quarterbacks and I am good," he continued.
Kaepernick started the 2015 season as the starting quarterback for San Francisco, but poor play eventually led to his benching in favor of Blaine Gabbert. He was then placed on injured reserve when a shoulder injury came into light. Kaepernick is recovering from multiple surgeries. While none are expected to be long-term issues, he has had surgeries on his left shoulder, thumb and knee since being placed on injured reserve.
The 49ers have a new head coach in Chip Kelly and it will really be up to him whether or not Kaepernick fits into San Francisco's long term goals. General Manager Trent Baalke has stated that the April 1 deadline is not on the minds of the 49ers and that the goal is to get Kaepernick healthy and ready to compete.
If Kaepernick really does not want to be in San Francisco, a rumor like this might help with a coach like Kelly who has in the past dropped players who do not want to be around. It also may help the Jets in the negotiations with Fitzpatrick if he sees that New York is possibly eying (without tampering) another quarterback. Or it could have simply been an attempt to reach for a story. After all, Mehta is the same reporter that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie refers to as "The Dope."
Whatever the truth is, we will have a clearer picture of the situation in April.