NFL AM: Broncos, 49ers Still Playing Chicken With Kaepernick


All About The Benjamin’s

The Denver Broncos would like to trade for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

The 49ers would love nothing more than to get Kaepernick out of their organization.

Compensation for the trade has reportedly been figured out.

We have a deal, right?  

As the great Lee Corso would say, “not so fast my friend.”

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the two sides are roughly $5 million apart on who is responsible for Kaepernick’s $11.9 million salary which is fully guaranteed.

As we discussed on Saturday, as much as Kaepernick wants to get out of San Francisco, there’s no reason for him to acquiesce any of the money that’s owed to him.

For the betterment of all parties, this trade needs to get done sooner rather than later.  Kaepernick can help that along by making his presence at the 49ers OTA’s which begin on Monday.  If Kaepernick somehow gets hurt, then the 49ers are on the hook for the entire salary entering the season.

With that looming threat, as well as the idea of a player that doesn’t want to be in San Francisco, and the team not wanting him to be there, there should be more than enough motivation to eat some more money to get the deal done.

From a 49ers perspective, this is an opportunity to better their trade compensation.  Since money makes the world go around, they can theoretically agree to cover part of Kaepernick’s salary in exchange for an additional draft pick, or something conditional based on how well the former Nevada quarterback plays.

We’re likely not the first thinking of this negotiation tactic and the Broncos and John Elway are likely weighing their options.  With both sides ultra motivated to make this deal happen, it’s likely that something can get done that can make all parties copacetic, if not happy.

Is Kaepernick Really An Upgrade?

The Denver Broncos are set to roll with Mark Sanchez as their opening night starting quarterback….Unless they’re not.

Obviously Colin Kaepernick has unlimited physical abilities and he did lead the 49ers to a Super Bowl in the 2012 season.  That alone makes him likely a superior option to Sanchez.

Denver proved last year that they don’t need elite quarterback play to win a Super Bowl.  Unfortunately, they lost a couple of key pieces from that legendary defense and to expect the defense to play at the level they did for another season is asking a lot.

So what does Kaepernick bring to the table? 

He runs like a gazelle and doesn’t normally take big hits.  He has perhaps the strongest arm in the NFL and he has a career win-loss record of 31-22.

So why is that guy available for a mid-round pick and why would any team balk at paying the full $11.9 million of his salary?

Here comes the negatives:

  • Kaepernick is a very erratic passer.  He has the arm strength to make all the throws, but he hasn’t proven that he can make them accurately enough of the time.
  • He hasn’t proven that he can go through progressions well enough.
  • Much of Kaep’s success was based on a zone-read system and he hasn’t produced in a conventional offense.
  • There have been some off the field concerns.  Nothing illegal, but he has been known to be a distraction.

It would appear that Kaepernick would be a pretty good fit in Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak’s system.  Perhaps a much better fit than Brock Osweiler and Peyton Manning.

This could be a great audition for the Broncos and an even better resurrection of Kaepernick’s career.  He has immense talent and played well under a great head coach in Jim Harbaugh.  A change of scenery is necessary and Kubiak’s roll-out system caters perfectly to his skill set.

It’s unlikely that a 28-year old quarterback will suddenly learn to read defenses, but with the physical tools that Kaep has it’s possible that his career can get straightened out and as crazy as it seems the Broncos could have a much better offense in 2016 than in 2015.

Assuming the trade goes through.

Donte Whitner Released

The Cleveland Browns continued their veteran roster purge as they released 30-year old safety Donte Whitner.

The former Ohio State Buckeye was the first to break the news via his Twitter account.

He elaborated on his feelings.

This is another not-so-veiled shot at former baseball executive Paul DePodesta, who is now with the Browns.  There have been rumors of other NFL executives openly mocking DePodesta and with the offseason that Cleveland has had, there would appear to be even more mocking when the season begins.

Whitner obviously had a problem with the timing of the news.

Nearly three hours later, his tempered obviously calmed down and Whitner gave this parting message.

How much does Whitner have left in the tank and can he help another team?

It’s almost a surprise to hear that Whitner’s only 30 years old, as it seems like he’s actually older.  He’s been on three teams in 10 years and his next stop will be the fourth in 11 years.

He’s an inside the box safety, which is certainly a liability in the passing game.  With that said, the game hasn’t passed him by.  With the lack of competent safeties in the NFL right now, it’s likely that some team will need a veteran and there will be suitors.

Oakland, both New York teams, Arizona, Carolina, Dallas and Tampa Bay could all be interested parties.

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.