Jason Cole of Bleacher Report stated today that, according to a source, the Denver Broncos asked San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick to take a pay cut of approximately $7 million if they were to acquire him via a trade.
If Kaepernick remains on the 49ers' roster at 1 PM (PT) today, he will be on the roster on April 1 when his base salary of $11.9 million becomes fully guaranteed.
Cole's reliability in the past has been sketchy at best, but – for now – there is no reason to assume that this report is untrue. The Broncos have just $1.62 million in cap space according to the latest NFLPA report. They cannot currently absorb Kaepernick's salary without a renegotiation.
The interesting thing about Cole's report is that previous reports had stated that Denver and Kaepernick's camp had come to a general agreement on salary and that the compensation to the 49ers was the item holding up a deal. Denver valued Kaepernick at a fourth-round draft pick, of which they do not even have a tradable one. San Francisco likely wanted their third-round selection for the quarterback. So does this mean that Kaepernick agreed to such a pay cut to play for Denver?
The 49ers will still be able to trade Kaepernick following the April 1 deadline, which only guarantees his base salary. If traded, that would make his new team responsible for the salary since base salary payment does not come into play until September. The 49ers would still be responsible for various offseason bonuses like a $400,000 workout bonus that Kaepernick gets if he attends 90 percent of the team's voluntary offseason program.
It is entirely possible that trade talks could heat up leading to or during the NFL Draft at the end of April.
The Broncos, and possibly other teams, have likely been waiting until the deadline to see if there was a possibility that the 49ers might cut the quarterback, meaning they could sign him without giving up any compensation. However, San Francisco has repeatedly stated that they will not release Kaepernick and that he will be on the roster on April 1.
Kaepernick's representatives have stated that, should he remain with the 49ers past April 1, that he would be present for the team's offseason program, which begins on Monday.