After a tumultuous 2015 season, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was in serious danger of falling out of the NFL entirely. The signal caller was benched in favor of Blaine Gabbert eight games into the season, and looked nothing like the player who led the 49ers to the Super Bowl two years earlier.
Needless to say, it was assumed Kaepernick couldn’t have any less value to NFL franchises. But three months later, much to the surprise of many within NFL circles, Kaepernick is now a highly sought after commodity.
Thanks to Peyton Manning’s retirement and Brock Osweiler’s decision to sign with the Houston Texans, the Broncos have expressed interest since they have a total of one quarterback (who no one has heard of) on their current roster. In addition, the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns have spoken to San Francisco about a possible trade, as both teams have question marks at the quarterback position.
With head coach Chip Kelly taking over in San Francisco, it was assumed he would help Kaepernick rediscover his once-brilliant form. However, Kaepernick has reportedly been too insulted by last season’s benching to continue donning a 49ers uniform.
With obvious interest from other teams, San Francisco finds itself in a unique position. They have Kaepernick and Gabbert signed under contract, and also hold the No. 7 pick in this year’s draft. Since at least one of the top two quarterback prospects (Carson Wentz/Jared Goff) is likely to still be on the board at No. 7, the 49ers could trade Kaepernick and draft their future franchise quarterback.
Kelly is rumored to like Goff’s blend of accuracy and athleticism, and could be the perfect face of the franchise after playing his college ball in Berkeley. The last time San Francisco passed on a Cal quarterback, that signal caller was Aaron Rodgers.
Don’t expect the 49ers to make the same mistake again. Kaepernick is likely on his way out; it’s only a matter of time before we find out where he’s headed.