When the 49ers signed Chip Kelly to be head coach, it was considered a positive sign for quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Despite his regression over the 2014 and 2015 seasons, Kaepernick always has seemed like a nice fit for Kelly’s fast-paced attack that is suited to a running, read-option-capable quarterback.
During Kelly’s introductory news conference, he said he welcomed the prospect of working with both Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert – who supplanted him – and said the QB situation was one of the factors that made the job attractive.
Now, 49ers CEO Jed York has given another indication that the team is willing to give Kaepernick another chance to get back on track.
Speaking on the syndicated “Rich Eisen Show” Thursday, York said he won’t be involved in the decision-making process about who will start in 2016, but the organization believes Kaepernick can still be effective in the right situation after he gets healthy. This past season and offseason Kaepernick had surgery on his left shoulder, right thumb and left knee, according to Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group.
“We’ve all seen what Colin can do, taking us to a Super Bowl and an NFC Championship Game the year after,” York told Eisen. “He’s had a great career here. Obviously last year wasn’t a great year for any of us in red and gold. I think Chip is going to be a great addition, not just for Kap but for the rest of the team. We’re going to see where it goes.”
According to Inman, Kaepernick’s $11.9 million base salary is guaranteed for 2016 if he’s still on the roster April 1. York indicated that the team has no plans to trade or release him before he’s completely healthy and ready to compete for a job under Kelly.
Then, said York, “We’ll see where it goes.”
York says Kelly’s hiring signals a “fresh start for everybody.” York added that he’s always had a very high opinion of Kaepernick. “Kap’s a great kid, he’s done a lot of great things for us.”
Kapernick played just nine games for San Francisco in 2015, throwing six TD passes vs. five interceptions and posting a quarterback rating of just 78.5, the lowest of his career. Since 2012, when his QB rating was 98.3, his rating has steadily declined to 91.6 in 2013, 86.4 in 2014 and 78.5.
Before going 2-6 as a starter in 2015, his win-loss record was 25-14 in the regular season and 4-2 in the postseason.