<
>

How does Colin Kaepernick affect 49ers' draft plans at QB?

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- A report Monday night had the San Francisco 49ers ready, willing and able to fully guarantee quarterback Colin Kaepernick's salary for the upcoming season … if he essentially waived his trade request.

That’s nice, even if it makes little sense in terms of an olive branch, considering $11.9 million of Kaepernick’s salary becomes guaranteed anyway on Friday so long as he is still on the Niners’ roster.

And therein lies the biggest question mark and, well, question, regarding the 49ers’ roster -- even if Kaepernick is indeed still on the roster by the end of this week: Will the team be in the market for a QB at the end of next month for the NFL draft? Keep in mind, Blaine Gabbert supplanted Kaepernick as the starter last year.

So would the Niners actually have Gabbert starting, Kaepernick an $11.9 million backup, and use a first-round pick on a QB?

Neither general manager Trent Baalke nor new coach Chip Kelly ruled out the possibility of the Niners selecting a quarterback with their first-round pick at No. 7 overall. Because, well, they would be tipping their hand by doing so, right?

“And whether we stay at seven, there’s a possibility we move up [or] there’s a possibility we move back,” Baalke said at last week’s NFL owners meetings in Boca Raton, Florida. “This draft is going to have some fluidity to it in terms of willingness to move in every round.”

The Niners have 12 picks at their disposal, and with four being compensatory selections, eight can be traded.

And with Cal’s Jared Goff and North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz the top two-rated quarterbacks, Kelly was asked about both players at the NFC coaches breakfast.

“I have not seen Wentz in person,” Kelly said. “I saw him at the combine, and I just went to Jared’s pro day on Friday. I’m impressed with both of those guys. I think they’re really talented. I think there are a couple of really talented quarterbacks.

“That will be the interesting thing in this draft -- when do quarterbacks go? Are people going to trade to get quarterbacks? That’s probably the intriguing storyline of this draft.”

Kelly also mentioned that Goff and Wentz are not quite Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota as far as consensus top picks.

“It’s a different group of quarterbacks,” Kelly said. “There’s one kid who’s coming out of 1-AA [Wentz], who’s extremely talented and has an unbelievable skill set. But people are still trying to figure him out in terms of what exactly he is.”

And yet, “When you get a chance to see Jared in person, he can really throw the football,” Kelly said.

Well enough for the Niners to select him at No. 7, even if the guy who currently wears No. 7 for them, Kaepernick, is still on the roster?