Colin Kaepernick is rumored to be on the move, with the reports indicating that the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos still leading the race for the soon-to-be former San Francisco 49ers starter.
Kaepernick has until April 1 before his $11.9 million salary for 2016 is guaranteed, but it appears he will be on the move before then. Kaepernick had asked the team for a trade this offseason after he lost his starting job to Blaine Gabbert and there is a small group of teams willing to make it happen.
That Kaepernick would be traded at all would have seemed almost impossible just a few years ago. But after a very strong start to his career that included taking the team to the NFC Championship Game in each of his first two years as a full-time starter — including a run to the Super Bowl in his second — Kaepernick has fallen onto hard times. He struggled with accuracy this season and ultimately lost his starting spot after a 2-6 record, leading to his request for a trade.
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported that the rumors surrounding Colin Kaepernick are still brewing, with indications that the Denver Broncos are the most likely to land him. The Broncos were not among the handful of teams in search of a quarterback as the offseason began, but after Peyton Manning retired and Brock Osweiler opted for a big contract from the Houston Texans, the Super Bowl champs are now on the market.
La Canfora reported that Kaepernick appears a likely fit.
If Colin Kaepernick is going to get dealt, this would be a good week to lay the foundation. I still hear the Broncos as being the team most interested in actually getting something done and, in the end, other clubs seem willing to call the 49ers’ bluff about keeping the disgruntled quarterback, going ahead and guaranteeing him that $12 million he is due while coming off three surgeries and actually to move forward with Kaepernick as their starter and attempt to rebuild shattered relationships and trust issues.
There are other teams in the running for Colin Kaepernick as well. The Cleveland Browns have been deep in trade talks with the San Francisco 49ers, though the teams haven’t been able to iron out all the details. The 49ers are reportedly seeking a second-round pick in exchange for Kaepernick, and the Browns are offering something very close — the first pick of the third round.
The Browns also brought in Robert Griffin III this week, but Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter Mary Kay Cabot said Kapernick is still the top target.
“They’re kicking the tires on Griffin just like they have Kaepernick over the past few weeks in an effort to find another bridge quarterback or even possible quarterback of the future. The 49ers are reportedly willing to keep Kaepernick, and the Browns have to look around. Interest in Griffin could also hasten a deal. It probably also means that they’re not sure one of the rookies will be ready to start right away and that they want to be poised to start a veteran in 2016.”
Cabot wrote that the asking price for Kaepernick is seen as high, but the Browns would be willing to pay it as long as they could restructure Kaepernick’s $19 million contract to bring his salary down.
The rumors surrounding Colin Kaepernick could start heating up even more if a few other quarterback deals come to fruition. The New York Jets, who also brought in Griffin this week for a look, are reportedly working on an extension for 2015 starter Ryan Fitzpatrick. If that falls into place, it means one less contender for Griffin and it could start getting the other dominoes to fall in the quarterback landscape.
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