The Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers are rumored to be done with plans to trade for Colin Kaepernick after the teams couldn’t reach a deal on who pays roughly $5 million of his salary, sending the Broncos back to the drawing board in finding a quarterback for 2016.
The teams had agreed in principle on a deal that send Kaepernick to the Broncos in exchange for draft picks, but they remained in negotiations over $4.9 million in salary he was owed for next season.
Now, NFL insider Jason Cole has reported that the Colin Kaepernick trade has been called off after the teams — and Kaepernick himself — refused to budge on the salary issue.
— Jason Cole (@JasonColeBR) April 4, 2016
Reports from ESPN over the weekend noted that the Broncos were willing to pay $7 million of Kaepernick’s contract for next season, but wanted the 49ers to pick up the remaining $4.9 million. The 49ers, who had no intention to trade Kaepernick before the quarterback asked for one, reportedly didn’t want to pay that much for a player they originally planned to keep on the roster.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 4, 2016
As ESPN noted, all other details had been ironed out, but the $4.9 million remained a sticking point.
“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.”
The trade would have prompted other work for the Denver Broncos. As Pro Football Talk noted, the team was likely to trade tackle Ryan Clady in order to free up cap space, leaving his $9.5 million salary to make room for other 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.”
With the Colin Kaepernick trade now killed, the Denver Broncos are rumored to be back to the drawing board to find a starter for next year. They have already brought in Mark Sanchez, but it was believed he would serve a backup spot on the team.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) April 4, 2016
Journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick could be an option. He just had the best year of his career, throwing for 3,905 yards and 31 touchdowns in leading the New York Jets to a 10-6 record. The Denver Broncos were already rumored to be interested in Fitzpatrick, talking to his agent back in March, and could move more aggressively now that the Colin Kaepernick trade has seemingly fallen through.
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