Cleveland Browns Rumors: Team Working On Trade For Colin Kaepernick, Would Need To Re-Work Contract Details

The Cleveland Browns are rumored to be nearing a deal for Colin Kaepernick, with league sources saying the Browns are close to working out the compensation needed to snag the San Francisco 49ers’ former starter.

Kaepernick reportedly wants to play for new Browns coach, Hue Jackson, and in Cleveland would have an undisputed hold on the starting role. Kaepernick has fallen out of favor in San Francisco, where he had a torrid start to his career that included two straight NFC Championship appearances — and one Super Bowl — in his first two years as full-time starter. Since then, Kaepernick struggled with inconsistency, eventually losing his starting job to Blaine Gabbert.

After the season, Kaepernick requested a trade out of San Francisco, and the Cleveland Browns are appearing a very likely destination, ESPN reported.

A reunion with Hue Jackson seems a likely possibility. Jackson was coaching the Oakland Raiders when Kaepernick was drafted in 2011 and reportedly wanted late owner Al Davis to trade up to take Kaepernick, ESPN reported.

“I think about it all the time, believe me,” Jackson told Sports Illustrated in 2013. “No question in my mind we wanted it to happen and no question I thought it could happen. We wanted the kid in the worst way.”

The Cleveland Browns are rumored to be offering a third-round draft pick to the San Francisco 49ers, which the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported. The report claimed that the 49ers had been looking for a second-round pick for Kaepernick, but would be open to Cleveland’s offer since their pick is the second one in the third round.

But there would be more to finishing the deal, the Plain Dealer reported, including Kaepernick restructuring his contract.

“In regards to Kaepernick’s contract, the Browns will likely want to cut his current $19 million a year average by more than half. He signed a six-year extension in 2014 worth $114,000,000, including $61 million guaranteed. If he’s on a team’s roster on April 1st, his 11.9 million base salary for 2016 will be guaranteed.”

“His bases in the final four years are as follows: $14.5 million in 2017, $15 million in 2018, $16.8 million in 2019 and $19 million in 2020.”

The Browns have a void at quarterback after waiving Johnny Manziel this week, ending a tumultuous era. Though his tenure with the team represented two sunk years and a wasted first-round draft pick, Manziel’s departure offers other players a chance to grow and could pave the way for a player like Kaepernick to redeem himself and become a team leader.

As ESPN noted, the team now has a giant burden lifted with Johnny Manziel gone.

“For nearly two years, the Browns tried to pretend Manziel’s presence did not hurt them. They took extraordinary steps in that regard, from shrugging off numerous social media missteps to protecting Manziel from unwanted attention after rehab to even bringing in a fellow Texas guy in quarterback Josh McCown to mentor him in his second season.”

“So much was about Johnny.”

“Manziel’s response was to talk one way about proper actions and tamping down the hype and then act another way. Nobody was smoother with questions or in front of the camera, but the actions never matched the words.”

The Cleveland Browns are not the only team rumored to be in the running for Colin Kaepernick. The Denver Broncos are reportedly still very interested, even after trading for Mark Sanchez. The Broncos, too, are in need of a quarterback after Peyton Manning retired and Brock Osweiler bolted for more money in Houston.

[Picture by Christian Peterson/Getty Images]