The Colin Kaepernick trade rumor mill is slowing down considerably, with just one team left in the hunt for the quarterback and the odds of him staying in San Francisco climbing that much higher.
Kaepernick asked the team for a trade this off-season after losing his starting job to Blaine Gabbert. With his future in San Francisco uncertain, and no assurances that he would have the starting job next year, Kaepernick opted to test the trade market to see if he could become a starter elsewhere.
Initially, it looked as if there would be a lot of interest, with the Cleveland Browns getting deep into trade talks and a handful of other teams interested. But those talks with the Browns stalled amid rumors that the San Francisco 49ers had too high of an asking price, and the Browns grabbed Robert Griffin III instead.
The New York Jets, who had a surprise vacancy after the team failed to come to terms on a contract extension for Ryan Fitzpatrick, have also dropped out of the Colin Kaepernick hunt, RotoWorld reported.
“Someone — likely Kaepernick’s agent — has been working very hard to connect him to Gang Green this off-season, but the idea has never taken hold beyond the rumor section. The Jets seem focused on retaining Ryan Fitzpatrick, while the 49ers continue to insist they will be keeping their starting quarterback. Perhaps the rumor smoke will finally yield some fire if Fitzpatrick slips out of the Jets’ grasp.”
Now the only team left in the hunt for Kaepernick is the Denver Broncos, who themselves had something of an unexpected vacancy when Brock Osweiler left for the Houston Texans.
There are many who think it would be a good fit for both team and player, including former Broncos safety Nick Ferguson. In an appearance on Afternoon Drive, he said that Kaepernick was a much better option than either Ryan Fitzpatrick and now Josh McCown, the other quarterbacks likely available to the Denver Broncos.
The SB Nation blog Mile High Report noted:
“He felt both Fitzpatrick and McCown are much lower ceilings, with Fitzpatrick having a better shot at providing a good bridge at the position. There was no doubt to him that John Elway will end up drafting a quarterback in the 2016 NFL Draft.”
The San Francisco 49ers seem to want Colin Kaepernick back as well, as new 49ers coach Chip Kelly spoke very highly of Kaepernick’s abilities.
“Colin’s a mobile quarterback. You can use him in a lot of different ways that you don’t use a traditional NFL quarterback,” Kelly said (via Fox Sports). “You’re not going to use Colin the same way you use Tom Brady…if he’s there on the fourth [of April], we’ll be excited. I’ve expressed that to him.”
“I’ve had very good conversations with him and I’d be excited to work with him, and that’s what I’ve told him…We want him. I really would love to work with him.”
Kelly also defended Kaepernick’s shaky performance in 2015, when he went 2-6 before losing his starting job and ultimately being placed on injured reserve and having surgery for a torn labrum. Kelly attributed Kaepernick’s problems last season to the injury rather than a diminished skill set.
Wherever he may end up, the Colin Kaepernick rumors will have a definite end date. His $11.9 base salary becomes fully guaranteed on April 1, so if Kaepernick is traded it will have be be before then or else he will be playing for the San Francisco 49ers next season.
[Picture by Christian Peterson/Getty Images]