Thursday is deadline day for the 49ers and quarterback Colin Kaepernick, but few NFL observers believe anything dramatic will happen.
If Kaepernick is still on the 49ers’ roster Thursday at 1 p.m., the quarterback’s $11.9 million base salary for 2016 will be guaranteed. That would seem to be an impetus for the 49ers to deal Kaepernick before the deadline if they no longer have interest in him playing at Levi's Stadium.
And yet, when the sun comes up Friday over the Bay Area, Kaepernick will likely still be on the San Francisco roster, awaiting a later deal (possibly around draft day) if he and the team still want to part ways.
Or, perhaps, he and Chip Kelly will get along famously and he will open the season as the team’s No. 1 signal caller.
Yet reports out of Denver indicate the Broncos are still very interested in Kaepernick. The Super Bowl champions need a quarterback after losing Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler, and reportedly are high on Kaepernick.
There just seems to be one sticking point. The Broncos, according to Mike Klis, who’s covered the team many years in Denver, need Kaepernick to restructure his contract for 2016.
After signing several free agents, the Broncos are last in the NFL in salary-cap space, with less than $2 million to spend, Klis reported this week.
“To be clear, a trade for Kaepernick does not happen unless Kaepernick reduces his 2016 money,” Klis wrote.
As Klis notes, Kaepernick will be due $14.3 million, in total, this season, including a $2 million roster bonus and an additional workout bonus on top of his salary.
So, if the Broncos and 49ers still want to work out a deal – and the Broncos and Jets appear to be the only true suitors of Kaepernick – the quarterback will have to make a choice to restructure his contract to make it happen.
Wrote Klis: “The Broncos need Kaepernick to think long term. He can either, one, collect (his salary) this year but follow the lead of Robert Griffin III and sit out 16 games. The 49ers would probably sit Kaepernick rather than pay him the additional roster bonus that’s tied to the game-day roster. Or, Kaepernick can play 16 games at a reduced rate for the defending Super Bowl champs. With Kaepernick at the helm, the Broncos would be a top five favorite to win Super Bowl LI.”