Colin Kaepernick Seeking Trade Out of San Francisco?
The Colin Kaepernick rumor mill won’t stop churning. Just a day after new head coach Chip Kelly and San Francisco 49ers management suggested the star quarterback could be on the 2016 roster, reports have emerged that he could be seeking a way out of the Bay Area.
Rumors have been swirling about a potential departure from the Niners since Kaepernick began struggling in 2014, but an even worse 2015 season saw him get benched in favor of Blaine Gabbert and eventually played on injured reserved due to a shoulder injury.
With Kaepernick’s agents reportedly now seeking a trade, it’s possible the end is finally near.
Source: Kaepernick’s agents have requested permission from the team to seek a trade.
— Rand Getlin (@Rand_Getlin) February 25, 2016
The writing was arguably already on the wall with Kaepernick scheduled to count over $11 million against the team’s 2016 salary cap, but finding a taker for his hefty salary could be a problem. There is also the dilemma of figuring out who would start under center if Kap was indeed traded. At the moment that figures to be Gabbert (who surprisingly wasn’t bad as the starter last season), but Kaepernick being moved could quickly prompt Kelly to go after “his guy” in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Few expect the 49ers to turn around after a down 2015 season and compete for the playoffs in the brutal NFC West, but turning Kaepernick loose elsewhere would hurt them from an upside perspective offensively. Suddenly restricted to just Gabbert and whatever rookie the team could get their hands on, even a Chip Kelly offense could be too suspect to bet on making a run at the playoffs. After all, Kelly has three years to do as he pleased in Philadelphia, yet got the Eagles into post-season play just once.
While losing Kaepernick could potentially hurt the Niners, it also could open the door to some swift change. If Gabbert isn’t the answe and Kelly isn’t in love with a new rookie from this year’s crop, he could turn to one of two soon-to-be free agents that could hypothetically fit hist style of offense – Robert Griffin III and Johnny Manziel. Both RG3 and Manziel have their flaws and come with baggage, but either could also potentially thrive in Kelly’s up-tempo offense.
As for Kaepernick, the timing is odd, as the 49ers seemingly just vouched for him and he actually – at least on the surface – looks like he’d be a fantastic fit for the system Kelly wants to run. However, it’s possible that the two sides have just gotten to a point where a separation is what is best. From there, it’s anyone’s guess where Kaepernick could wind up, but at the top of the list would be some quarterback-needy teams like the Browns, Jets and Texans.
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