The San Francisco 49ers are rumored to be working on Colin Kaepernick’s request to be traded to a new team, but league sources say that may be difficult as there are few teams interested in giving the quarterback his second chance.
After a strong start to his career that included taking the San Francisco 49ers to the NFC title game in each of his first two years as full-time starter — including a trip to the Super Bowl the second time — Kaepernick has quickly fallen out of favor with the team. He was benched last year in favor of journeyman Blaine Gabbert, and his only prospect of starting again is in beating Gabbert out this upcoming preseason.
That led Kaepernick to ask the team to trade him, a request the 49ers have reportedly been working on this week. But, that may be somewhat difficult to accomplish, ESPN‘s John Clayton wrote.
“What is Kaepernick’s value on the trade market? It would seem unlikely that the 49ers could match the two second-round picks they received when quarterback Alex Smith was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013,” Clayton wrote. “It’s debatable whether the 49ers could net much better than a fourth- or a fifth-round pick for Kaepernick.”
Clayton broke down the teams that could possibly be interested in Colin Kaepernick, pegging the Los Angeles Rams as the most likely choice. He could fit well alongside Todd Gurley and create a potent ground attack, but it would be less likely for the San Francisco 49ers to trade their quarterback to a divisional rival, Clayton wrote. While he could still end up with the Rams, it would likely only happen if the 49ers can’t find a trade partner and end up cutting him outright.
Clayton outlines a few other potential landing points, including the Cleveland Browns. Johnny Manziel is almost certain to leave the team, and new head coach Hue Jackson spoke highly of Kaepernick in the past. But the Browns also have a top draft pick and may be more likely to choose Jared Goff or Carson Wentz, Clayton noted.
There are some other options, including the New York Jets or the Buffalo Bills, but the Bills have their starter set in Tyrod Taylor and the Jets would more likely opt to re-sign Ryan Fitzpatrick or give Bryce Petty a chance.
There is also a chance that the rumors don’t pan out and the San Francisco 49ers end up holding onto Colin Kaepernick. This week new coach Chip Kelly spoke highly of Kaepernick, and noted that the team needs to be keeping its talent rather than getting rid of it.
That was the knock on Kelly in Philadelphia, where he either traded or released DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, and Jeremy Maclin, leaving the team lacking in offensive firepower and ultimately leading to his firing.
Kelly also publicly denied the rumors that Colin Kaepernick was trying to force a trade.
“He wants to be here. He’s never expressed to me that he didn’t want to be here,” Kelly said earlier in the week (via USA Today), before reports emerged that the trade talks had taken place. “He expressed to me that he’s excited about getting healthy and getting going. And we’re excited about him getting healthy and getting going.”
If the San Francisco 49ers rumors are true and the market for Colin Kaepernick is dry, then it could be the result of an over-saturated quarterback free agent pool this offseason. Robert Griffin III, who like Kaepernick started his career strong but fell into hard times, is also expected to be a free agent after the Washington Redskins release him, and could be a more attractive option for teams. To a lesser extent there is Johnny Manziel, who will soon be free from the Cleveland Browns, but it’s not clear if any team is willing to roll the dice on him.
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