Everyone seems to have an opinion on the San Francisco 49ers quarterback competition, a story that is likely to drag on until the end of training camp – and possibly beyond. Many within the media feel that QB Blaine Gabbert is the likely candidate to start for the team once the 2016 season kicks off leaving QB Colin Kaepernick and his $15.9 million cap hit holding the clipboard on the sideline. Others still believe that the 49ers will try to move Kaepernick to another team before that point, even with his most likely offseason destination, the Denver Broncos, out of the picture after selecting QB Paxton Lynch in the first round of the NFL Draft.
Andy Benoit of Sports Illustrated went as far as attempting to place odds on the 49ers quarterback competition. He feels that Gabbert is the 5:1 favorite to start the most games in 2016.
If I had to put odds on who starts most games at QB for #49ers, I'd say Gabbert the favorite at 5:1.— Andy Benoit (@Andy_Benoit) May 13, 2016
Stylistically, Gabbert fairly well-suited for Kelly's scheme. Much better fit than Kaepernick for passing game.— Andy Benoit (@Andy_Benoit) May 13, 2016
Concern with Gabbert is how he performs in muddied pocket. Quick scheme like Kelly's eliminates some of that.— Andy Benoit (@Andy_Benoit) May 13, 2016
One thing that gives Gabbert an advantage is the fact that he has had a head start on his competition. Kaepernick has been extremely limited during the team's offseason program. In November, Kaepernick was placed on injured reserve due to a shoulder injury. He is recovering from multiple surgeries. While none are expected to cause long-term issues, he has had surgeries on his left shoulder, thumb, and knee since being placed on injured reserve.
Some within the media even believe, for various reasons, that the 49ers organization is pulling for Gabbert to win the starting job. Players have been commenting on Gabbert taking control of the 49ers offense and showing great leadership. Of course, it's tough to read too much into that as Kaepernick has been unable to fully participate.
KNBR-AM asked head coach Chip Kelly about the team's starting quarterback job. "We're not playing a game until September. At this point in time, it's early, and one of the players, Colin, is injured right now, so he's not been a full participant in everything," Kelly said.
"Kap's at every meeting. Kap's at rehab. Kap's at every practice, doing what he can," Kelly added. "We don't know exactly what we have until we get those guys up and running. That won't be determined until preseason camp."
Regardless, this is shaping up to being one of the top offseason stories for the 49ers. Brace yourself.