SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- A quick recap on the Colin Kaepernick Chronicles...
On Wednesday, San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said at the NFL combine that he “absolutely” expected the quarterback to be on the Niners’ roster on April 1, when $11.9 million of Kaepernick’s salary becomes guaranteed for injury.
On Thursday morning, new coach Chip Kelly, who chose to skip the public podium at the combine, instead sat with a group of 49ers beat writers in a private setting and told them Kaepernick “wants to be here” and “he expressed to me that he's excited about getting healthy and getting going” before adding “I’ve also learned to not believe everything that's on the Internet.”
A few hours later, agents for Kaepernick, who is still recovering from surgeries to his left shoulder, right thumb and left knee, told the league-owned NFL Network they wanted permission from the Niners to seek a trade.
Same page? The Niners’ new coach, front office and purported franchise QB aren’t even reading from the same book. It’s a tome that, if the Niners were planning on moving Kaepenrick, the last thing they’d want is for potential pursuers to know the 49ers had lost some bargaining power. It’s also one in which Kaepernick’s agents may have overplayed their hand, driving down their client's value by letting it be known he does not want to return to Santa Clara.
In any event, no trades can be consummated until the start of the league year on March 9. But that does not mean we can’t theorize on potential landing spots for Kaepernick, right?
Denver Broncos: Kaepernick could not be any more different from Peyton Manning when it comes to skill set as a quarterback, but then again you could say the same thing about Manning and Brock Osweiler, who is scheduled to become a free agent. And really, Kaepernick, who is in desperate need of a change of scenery, better fits coach Gary Kubiak’s vision of a stretch offense than does either Manning or Osweiler. And how good did Kaepernick look the last time he played behind a stout offensive line with a killer defense on his side? That’s right, the Niners were five yards away from winning the Super Bowl. These Broncos, meanwhile, are the defending champs.
Cleveland Browns: Hue Jackson the showman loves to talk. Like when he said, years after the fact, he wanted to draft Kaepernick out of UNR for the Oakland Raiders but missed out. Hue Jackson the offensive-minded coach would have had fun with the dual-threat QB on his roster. Now is Jackson’s chance. As the Browns’ first-year coach, Jackson has a gaping need at QB and two selections in the top 32, including the No. 2 overall pick. The Niners could open a trade conversation with something like this -- Kaepernick and the Niners’ No. 7 overall draft pick to the Browns for that No. 2 selection. The Browns and Jackson get Kaepernick and the Niners, who are already expected to have as many as 12 draft picks, could then conceivably draft Cal’s Jared Goff. Like I said, it’s a conversation starter and Jackson has already shown he’s not afraid to gamble. Or have you forgotten about his “greatest trade in football” in Oakland, when he swapped first- and second-round picks for Carson Palmer?
Houston Texans: The NFL Network already reported the Texans, along with the Browns, were interested in acquiring Kaepernick, who, if right, is a huge upgrade from Brian Hoyer, Brandon Weeden and Tom Savage. But would Bill O’Brien want to work with Kaepernick? The Houston Chronicle has already dispelled the report... for what it’s worth.
New York Jets: In what had all the makings of an agent-driven story during Super Bowl week, not only did Kaepernick want out of Santa Clara (no surprise there) but he had a specific destination in mind -- the Meadowlands and the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets. NFL Nation Jets reporter Rich Cimini, though, reported there was little interest from New York, that the Jets would rather re-sign Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Los Angeles Rams: A wild card for sure, given that the Niners would probably rather re-hire Jim Harbaugh than trade Kaepernick to a division rival, but the Rams are also in need of a long-term answer at quarterback. And while Kaepernick’s on-field stock has plummeted, his Q Rating remains high, so you’d think he’d like to be in on the ground level for the Rams’ rebirth in an entertainment capital, no? If you’re the Rams, would you rather have Nick Foles, Case Keenum or Kaepernick under center?