San Francisco 49ers Need To Rip The Band-Aid Off, Deal Kaepernick

Jan 3, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) walks on the field before the start of the game against the St. Louis Rams at Levi
Jan 3, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) walks on the field before the start of the game against the St. Louis Rams at Levi /

The San Francisco 49ers need to deal Colin Kaepernick or risk yet another season of dysfunction and frustrating losses.

Sometimes it’s best to simply rip off the Band-Aid and let a wound heal naturally. The San Francisco 49ers though, seem hell bent on letting that wound fester and rot. The wound in question here of course, is the team’s relationship with embattled quarterback Colin Kaepernick who is coming off his worst season as a pro. With a new head coach in Chip Kelly coming in and the relationship between the team and Kaepernick seemingly damaged beyond repair, the 49ers should rip the Band-Aid off and take what they can get for him in a deal.

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2015 was a season that saw Kaepernick lose the mojo and the swagger that helped him and the 49ers have tremendous success with former HC Jim Haubaugh at the helm. With Harbaugh dismissed after an 8-8 campaign in 2014 and was replaced by an in-way-over-his-head Jim Tomsula, Kaepernick’s performance didn’t just decline – it fell off the table completely.

Gone was the bold, brash quarterback who could make plays with both his arms and legs. And in his place was a pale imitation of that guy. Kaepernick’s 2015 season saw him post a record of 2-6 as a starter, throw for just 1,615 yards on 59 percent passing with six touchdowns against five inteceptions. He posted an abysmal QB rating of just 78.5 and found himself benched in favor of Blaine Gabbert.

For the record, Gabbert who, in the same amount of starts, went just 3-5 but had a better statistical performance than Kaepernick, throwing for 2,031 yards on 63 percent passing with 10 touchdowns against seven interceptions and an 86.2 QB rating.

The rumors of Kaepernick’s time in San Francisco being all but over began swirling long before the season even ended. The team-friendly contract he signed gave the 49ers the right to pull the plug on him with no cost to them. It seemed a given that when the new league year opened, the 49ers would exercise that right and begin anew with either Gabbert or somebody else under center.

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But then the 49ers hired Chip Kelly and that changed the equation – sort of. We all know what sort of offense Kelly likes to run and with his physical attributes, Kaepernick would seem to be a perfect – or at least, a really good fit – for the new HC’s system.

However, since becoming San Francisco’s new head coach, Kelly has done nothing to foster a relationship with his would-be quarterback. He’s had warmer things to say about Gabbert than he has Kaepernick. Kelly has had warmer things to say about a whole host of things than he has about Kapernick. At least until reporters started asking a lot of questions, anyway.

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As the pressure surrounding Kaepernick’s situation has mounted and people started asking more questions, the 49ers – as represented by Jed York, Trent Baalke, and Chip Kelly – have all circled the wagons and started to talk up Kaepernick and how excited they all are to see him back in a San Francisco uniform next season.

But it could already be too little too late. Kaepernick’s camp has said their client wants out of San Francisco in the worst way possible and is demanding a trade. Though a few teams popped up on the radar as possible destinations early, nothing panned out and it looked like nothing more than a smoke screen created to build up a quick market for Kaepernick.

But recently, two teams have emerged from the smoke screen and seem like legitimate landing spots for the former Nevada product – the Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos actually seem interested in prying Kaepernick out of the Bay Area. And for their part, York and Baalke are at least listening.

The Jets are inserting themselves into the conversation, but that seems to be more of a leverage play against their preferred starter, Ryan Fitzpatrick, than anything.

But reports indicate that both the Browns and Broncos have made legitimate offers to the 49ers to acquire Kaepernick. One of the sticking points is that both teams want Kaepernick to restructure his current deal – a deal that will pay him $12 million dollars this season.

Denver is reporting that they’ve had “productive” discussions with Kaepernick’s camp about restructuring his deal to get him to Colorado. But given the flurry of defections, the fact that the franchise once again seems to be lost at sea without a direction, and the fact that the team is expected to use their first round pick on a quarterback – again – Kaepernick is balking about restructuring his deal.

The other of course, is the compensation coming back to the 49ers for Kaepernick. The Browns are reportedly offering a third round pick – the 65th pick overall. The Broncos are also offering a third rounder, but their pick comes much later – the 94th overall.

Obviously, York and Baalke are obviously and understandably looking for something a little bit better than that.

The problem though is that Kaepernick wants out of San Francisco. For all of their posturing, the 49ers seem content to ship him out. Yes, they have until April first to make any concrete decisions on Kaepernick’s future. They have all the time in the world. They could even opt to keep him in San Francisco as they try to extract a pound of flesh (or just a better deal) in exchange for the former face of the franchise.

But by keeping him in a 49ers jersey, they are simply fostering more of the dysfunction that has plagued the organization the last few seasons. The same dysfunction that has taken them from Super Bowl contenders to league laughingstocks.

Of course the 49ers need fair and just compensation for Kaepernick. They need draft picks to bring in young blood who can help restore the shine on the franchise. But the longer they drag this out – with a player who is obviously done and doesn’t want to be there – they run the risk of letting that dysfunction and disorder bleed over into the season. And the 49ers will already have enough challenges to overcome without adding the extra distractions.

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It’s time for Kaepernick and San Francisco to move on from one another before the relationship gets any more toxic than it already is. The best thing the 49ers brass can do is get together with the pertinent people – paging John Elway – and get a deal done.

It’s time to rip the Band-Aid off and let this wound begin to heal. The longer York and Baalke let this drama play out, the worse it’s going to be for everybody involved. Get a deal done and move forward, focused on the bigger picture.