The San Francisco 49ers have been quite insistent lately that quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who took them to the Super Bowl in 2013 but lost his job last season amidst anemic play, injuries, and a devolving relationship with the team, is still in their long-term plans. At the NFL Scouting Combine, GM Trent Baalke said that Kaepernick will be on the roster on April 1, an important commitment because that’s when his $11.8 million base salary becomes guaranteed:
And later, new coach Chip Kelly effusively praised Kaepernick. Via the Sacramento Bee:
“Kap’s really good,” he said at one point. “I mean, he had the ball on the 5-yard line (intending on) taking the team in to win a Super Bowl. You can just look at the tape to see how talented he is. You know, our job is acquiring talent, not getting rid of talent.”
He said the quarterback’s downturn last year can be explained by several things, including a coaching change and the injuries for which he is now recovering. .
“There’s a reason he was on IR,” Kelly said. “I mean, there was something wrong with him.”
But Kaepernick has other ideas. Both the NFL Network and ESPN reported tonight that Kaepernick’s agents have requested permission from the 49ers to seek a trade partner. At least one report previously linked Kaepernick to the Jets, while new Browns coach Hue Jackson has praised Kaepernick in the past, and probably needs a quarterback, given, you know.
As PFT astutely points out, this leak almost certainly came from Kaepernick’s agents, and it doesn’t really matter whether the 49ers actually grant them the requested permission. It is now widely known that Kaepernick wants out, signaling interested parties that they should contact the 49ers and work something out.
Kaepernick’s skillset would seem to match up pretty perfectly with what Kelly has traditionally run on offense, but he also played like dogshit last season. How much of that was due to injuries, general team wide dysfunction, Geep Chryst’s offense, or something else, is anybody’s guess. What is clear is that Kaepernick has the potential to be—and at times has played like—an elite quarterback. Given how bad the state of quarterback play is in the NFL, you’d have to figure that’s enough for somebody to give him a shot.