NFL

Murky Future For Kaepernick In San Francisco

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There was a report last week that the agent for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick asked the team for a trade.  Kaepernick went from second-round pick and backup behind Alex Smith to starter and eventual Super Bowl starter.  After a couple down years, Kaep’s career hit an all-time low as he was benched in favor of former Top-10 draft bust Blaine Gabbert.

At this point Kaepernick is under contract and the team isn’t currently entertaining any trade offers.

“I haven’t talked to his people,” 49ers owner Jed York said in an interview with the San Jose Mercury News. “And I try to stay away from what the agents say. I know what our feeling is. We want Kap to be healthy. And we’d like to see Kap here.”

York’s comments became as murky as the former Nevada quarterback’s future when he was asked specifically if he would grant teams the opportunity to talk to his quarterback.

“I think there’s so much tampering that takes place . . . which the NFL has kind of taken the governor off of, a little bit, in terms of what they allow to happen in Indianapolis . . . the tampering that took place in terms of what happens in free agency,” York said. “So would it shock me that people are talking? It wouldn’t shock me. But I think our guys have said very clearly that we’d like Kap to be part of the San Francisco 49ers.”

York’s words about keeping Kaepernick don’t completely jive with new head coach Chip Kelly’s non-endorsement of his inherited quarterback.  Between York, Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke, a decision has to be made on the quarterback who regressed mightily when former head coach Jim Harbaugh left to take the head coaching job at Michigan.

Anyone can see that Kaep needs a change of scenery.  With that said, he might have such a change with another offensive guru as his new head coach.  If Kelly doesn’t want him, he’s still a very talented quarterback who can catch on somewhere else.

The best landing spot seems to be in Houston with the Texans.  They have a ready-made championship caliber defense and a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver in DeAndre Hopkins.  Bill O’Brien is known as a quarterback “fixer” and he would have in Kaepernick the most talented signal caller he’s had since working with Tom Brady.  Picking where they are in the NFL Draft (22nd overall), they might or might not be able to get a project player like Paxton Lynch who isn’t likely going to help O’Brien in 2016.

The Los Angeles Rams seem to be a great fit for Kaepernick as offensive coordinator Rob Boras needs a legitimate quarterback who can make all the throws and Kaep is that.  They can run some spread offense and they still figure to have a solid defense where they won’t have to be in shootouts every week.

If the Denver Broncos can’t get a deal done with Brock Osweiler, they could be in the market for Kaep’s services.  As thin as the proverbial file is on Kaepernick, Osweiler is far from a sure thing and the 49ers quarterback’s mobility seems to be a solid fit in head coach Gary Kubiak’s offense.

The Cleveland Browns will have a decision to make on what to do with the second-overall pick and they could choose to use it on a quarterback, possibly North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz and/or trade for Kaepernick.  Hue Jackson is an innovative offensive mind and he can get the most out of any of his quarterbacks.  Kaep is infinitely more talented than Andy Dalton, and Jackson made Dalton look pretty good.  Cleveland’s interest will likely depend on their evaluation of this year’s draft class.

With the non-endorsement of Chip Kelly, it seems that the best thing for Kaepernick’s career would be to start it elsewhere.  With the elite arm talent that he possesses, there will be plenty of interested teams so he can restart his life as a starting quarterback.

 


About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.