For some time now, there have been numerous rumors circulating that San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick was no longer interested in playing for his current team. There have been rumors that he had lost the locker room well before his benching in favor of Blaine Gabbert. There was even a rumor that he had a desire to play for the New York Jets. A scenario that would put him in the same city as his reported girlfriend, Hot 97 host Nessa.
Kaepernick's status with the 49ers remains a mystery. New head coach Chip Kelly gave him a lukewarm endorsement during his introductory press conference, but has not made any public commitment to the quarterback. The pair have been in communication, but Kelly has stated that he cannot discuss specific football matters with Kaepernick until April 4, when the team is allowed to open their offseason program.
On Monday, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport appeared on NFL Total Access and stated that Kaepernick would be open to playing in San Francisco during the 2016 season. "I'm told he certainly is more than open to returning to San Francisco," said Rapoport. "Also, he's set to make $12 million. Might make more in San Francisco than anywhere else."
Kaepernick open to returning to 49ers
Kaepernick is under contract with the 49ers. He will be guaranteed his base salary of $11.9 million if he is on the roster on April 1. After bonuses, Kaepernick will count about $15.9 million against the 49ers' cap in 2016. That's a lot of money for someone that is not guaranteed to start. Of course, the 49ers are not hurting for money. They are reportedly scheduled to have around $55 million in cap space. It's also possible that the 49ers will draft a quarterback this year. Whether that is done with an early selection or a later one won't be known until the end of April.
According to a report by Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, Kaepernick's representatives will meet with team officials this week at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. It's true that many trade deals evolve from discussions at the combine, where general managers, coaches, and staff from all 32 NFL teams gather annually. However, it is likely that the two parties are meeting to see where each stand.
The 49ers are likely curious if Kaepernick truly wants to play in San Francisco. If not, should they trade him before his base salary becomes guaranteed? Kaepernick's representatives likely want to learn whether or not Kaepernick will be given a fair chance to start and if the team plans to take a quarterback high in the draft. Ultimately, Kelly will have the final say on his starting quarterback.
While discussing Kelly's interest in Kaepernick, Rapoport pointed out that the Eagles were interested in trading for Kaepernick last year, which was during Kelly's reign. True or not, Kelly publicly shot that rumor down during his introductory press conference stating, "I don't know where that report came from, but we were very happy with Sam [Bradford] in Philly."
In November, Kaepernick was placed on injured reserve when a shoulder injury came into light. He 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. He is recovering from his surgeries at the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado.