San Francisco 49ers: Despite All The Drama, Kaepernick Likely Staying

Oct 11, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick throws a pass during warm ups prior to the game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim O
Oct 11, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick throws a pass during warm ups prior to the game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim O /

Despite an offseaon for the San Francisco 49ers that included more drama than your average soap opera, it appears that QB Colin Kaepernick is staying put after all.

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When the San Francisco 49ers 2015 season ended in early January with an overtime win over the Rams – a win led by Blaine Gabbert – it seemed to be a given for most that when the offseson program for 2016 started, embattled QB Colin Kaepernick wouldn’t be with the club for another season. Given his very team friendly deal that gave the 49ers and out – not to mention Kaepernick’s apparent desire for at trade – it seemed that a divorce was inevitable.

Until it wasn’t anyway.

In a turn of events that didn’t seem likely just a couple of months ago, it appears that the 49ers will be keeping Kaepernick and his $12 million dollar salary for the year after all. At least, that’s today’s story. Though, Jed York and Trent Baalke have made it clear that any team who comes calling can have Kaepernick – if the price is right.

There is no question that Kaepernick had a horrendous 2015 season – after a less than memorable 2014 season – and as a result, found himself riding the bench in favor of Gabbert halfway through the year. Statistically speaking, Gabbert’s half of the season wasn’t much different than Kaepernick’s. The team didn’t improve very much under Gabbert’s leadership and the record certainly didn’t get a whole lot better.

But there are some who believe the perception that Kaepernick is “Jim Harbaugh‘s guy” – and that he’s woefully underperforming on top of that – may be helping drive the narrative in their rocky marriage.

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Whether that perception is reality or not, the reality is that there is a real schism that exists between Kaepernick and the front office. And it’s a schism that hasn’t seemed to have abated with new HC Chip Kelly at the controls.

Since being named the head coach, Kelly has said all the right things and has toed the company line. He also seems to go out of his way to talk up Gabbert, but when it comes to Kaepernick, he simply reiterates the organization’s talking points. Since being named the head coach, Kelly has done absolutely nothing to bridge the gap and heal the schism that exists between Kaepernick and the team.

Of course, the fact that they’ve been trying to trade him might have something to do with it. But with Cleveland signing Robert Griffin III, and the Jets still blowing kisses at Ryan Fitzpatrick, and the field of suitors down to – Denver? – it’s not looking like Baalke and York are going to get the offer that “blows them away” that they’re looking for in exchange for Kaepernick.

And given the fact that that, as Pro Football Talk points out, the 49ers may be on the hook for Kaepernick’s 2016 salary if they’re unable to trade him because he is still technically injured and has not passed a physical, it’s looking more and more like the team and its beleagured quarterback are going to be forced to live together for another season.

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Perhaps York, Baalke, and Kelly all do believe what they’re saying – that they believe in Kaepernick and think he can rebound and have a tremendous year. Maybe. The fact that they’re continuing their pursuit of a trade would seem to somewhat undermines that though.

But whatever the case may be, the 49ers haven’t found a willing trade partner which leaves them with a quarterback coming off a pair of down years and has seemingly lost all of his swagger, a quarterback who doesn’t want to be there, and a head coach may or may not believe in him and/or even want him on the roster.

Could both sides make amends, find some way to work it out, smooth over the rought spots, and cobble together a decent working relationship? Yeah, it’s possible. But it seems about as likely as the sun not rising at all tomorrow. That schism between quarterback and team only seems to be continuing to grow wider and deeper by the day.

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The 49ers may still cut him on April 1. But it’s possible that even if they do, they’ll still be paying him $12 million for the year if the NFLPA files a grievance – a lot of money to be paying somebody not on the roster and a lot of money to be paying to somebody holding the clipboard for Gabbert.

The 49ers had hoped that after the drama of last offseason, that this year’s would be much smoother. And it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen. But for those of us on the outside, it will be very interesting to see it all play out. It’s just a pity that they won’t be on HBO’s Hard Knocks.