The Denver Broncos have reportedly hit a snag in plans to trade for quarterback Colin Kaepernick, one that may not kill the deal but could lead to some negotiations over which team is responsible for about $5 million of his contract.
The Broncos and San Francisco 49ers reportedly reached a rough outline on a deal that would send Kaepernick to the Broncos. But ESPN reported that the two teams will need to come to an agreement on who is responsible for his $11.9 million guaranteed salary for the upcoming year.
The report noted that the Broncos are willing to pay $7 million but want the 49ers to pick up the remaining $4.9 million. That hasn’t gone over well with the 49ers, who were not planning to trade Kaepernick before he asked the team to look into a new home for him and aren’t too interested in paying for a quarterback they planned to keep on the roster.
Kaepernick, likewise, isn’t willing to give up the $4.9 million to smooth the deal over.
As ESPN noted, almost all the other parameters of the deal are worked out.
A high-level source says “it would take two seconds” for the teams to finalize the proposed deal. The compensation in the trade is a nonissue, per sources familiar with deal. It will be a midround pick and sources from both teams said that will not be any holdup and they can “finalize it with one phone call.”
Adding to the pressure, the 49ers’ offseason voluntary workout program starts Monday, and Kaepernick has a $400,000 offseason workout bonus for 90 percent attendance.
There could likely be some other ramifications if the Denver Broncos can finish the deal for Colin Kaepernick. After Robert Griffin III signed with the Cleveland Browns and Brock Osweiler jumped from the Broncos to the Houston Texans, Kaepernick and Ryan Fitzpatrick were the two biggest names remaining among the pool of available quarterbacks. If Kaepernick ends up in Denver, it could put a bit more pressure on the New York Jets to come to terms with Fitzpatrick, who just had the best year of his career in leading the Jets to a 10-6 record.
The trade could also create more work for the Broncos. As Pro Football Talk noted, tackle Ryan Clady would likely be gone if the Broncos land Kaepernick, as the team had already looked into trading Clady and his $9.5 million salary to make room for signings.
That salary is an obstacle to a trade as is Clady’s recent injury history. Clady missed all of last season with a torn ACL and all but two games of the 2013 season with a foot injury. A team trading for him would likely want to restructure that deal, which also calls for Clady to make $10 million in 2017, and that may be too many moving parts for Denver to sort out while also swinging a trade with the Niners.
Releasing Clady wouldn’t bring any compensation back, but would create $8.9 million in cap space while leaving $1.2 million in dead money on the cap.
If the rumors are true and the Denver Broncos are able to complete the trade for Colin Kaepernick, it would put a cap on a very unexpected offseason. After the retirement of Peyton Manning after the team’s Super Bowl victory, the Broncos were planning to move forward with Osweiler, who had been groomed for the starting job and played well in relief of the injured Manning this year. But his unexpected departure left a hole at quarterback that prompted the Broncos to jump to the top of the line for Kaepernick, who would likely become the team’s starter for 2016.
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