8:37am: A well-placed 49ers official tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link) that the report about the Niners looking to trade Kaepernick is “totally false — 0% truth.” Meanwhile, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk says there’s big news on a 49ers player coming at some point today, but it doesn’t involve Kaepernick or Justin Smith (Twitter link).
7:23am: When Jim Harbaugh left the 49ers to become the new head coach at the University of Michigan, a handful of observers speculated that Colin Kaepernick‘s days in San Francisco could be numbered, now that he had been separated from the coach who initially made him the starter. At the very least, based on Harbaugh’s departure, his up-and-down 2014 performance, and the lack of guaranteed money in his contract, Kaepernick’s long-term future with the 49ers looked uncertain.
However, responding to a report last night that suggested the 49ers had put Kaepernick on the trading block, general manager Trent Baalke emphatically denied that his team is shopping its quarterback, tweets Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com.
“Colin is our quarterback and we are excited to have him. He is not going anywhere,” Baalke said in a statement, per Maiocco (Twitter links). “The media reports suggesting otherwise are without merit and quite frankly ridiculous.”
The “media report” Baalke is referring to originated with Jayson Braddock of KBME SportsTalk 790 in Houston (Twitter link). Braddock didn’t just report that the Niners had made Kaepernick available — he also identified the Eagles and Bears as two clubs that have spoken to San Francisco about the possibility of a deal (Twitter links).
In addition to Baalke’s denial, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reported (via Twitter) that after reaching out to several teams in need of a quarterback, he had yet to hear from one who had talked to the Niners about Kaepernick. Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports also tweeted that San Francisco is “not shopping” Kaepernick, though he wasn’t sure if other teams had called the 49ers to inquire.
So what can we make of all this? For one, as is often the case, it’s important to parse the specific wording used — Garafolo’s report and Baalke’s statement both say that the Niners aren’t “shopping” Kaepernick, a term that Braddock didn’t use in his initial report. “Shopping” suggests the team is actively out there looking for a deal, while Braddock’s report that the Niners put Kaepernick on the trade block could mean that the club is simply open to listening to offers, but isn’t aggressively seeking out a deal.
Given what we already knew about Kaepernick’s unsettled long-term future in San Francisco, Baalke’s history of issuing this same sort of denial during the season when discussing Harbaugh’s own uncertain future with the Niners, and the fact that Braddock has broken some major stories in the past (including Byron Maxwell‘s agreement with the Eagles yesterday), this is certainly a situation worth monitoring. For now though, nothing appears imminent.