4:43pm: The 49ers and Broncos have the parameters of a trade for Kaepernick in place, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter. Potentially the only thing standing in the way is the Broncos and Kaepernick agreeing on a restructured contract.
The teams are continuing dialogue regarding this trade, which will likely involve a Day 2 or Day 3 draft pick or a combination of the two, trying to bridge the financial divide, Schefter reports. However, what level of draft pick(s) the Broncos surrender in this prospective deal won’t be a stumbling block in completing the trade, according to Schefter.
1:40pm: The Broncos appear to still be interested in adding Colin Kaepernick to their undermanned stable of quarterbacks despite the 49ers locking in his $11.9MM salary for this season. John Elway and the sixth-year passer have met multiple times, including a summit on Thursday at the sixth-year GM’s Denver-area house, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Kaepernick and Elway have met at least twice since March 15, Branch reports, with the quarterback spending extensive time in Colorado rehabbing from three surgeries.
The 49ers have granted Kaepernick’s agents Jason Bernstein and Scott Smith permission to seek a trade, according to Branch, which clears the Broncos of tampering charges.
Elway and Kaepernick’s meetings have helped the parties become acquainted, and Kaepernick’s contract has come up during the meetings, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
Elway’s Thursday visit with the 28-year-old quarterback came as Kaepernick’s $11.9MM base salary became guaranteed. The Broncos currently possess less than $2MM in cap space, and any deal for Kaepernick depends on the signal-caller agreeing to reduce his contract, Troy Renck of the Denver Post tweets.
We heard Thursday that the Broncos want Kaepernick at approximately $7MM this season. Branch reports that Denver’s brass has been at work trying to restructure Kaepernick’s contract, which calls for him to carry a $14.9MM cap number this season. Only Demaryius Thomas ($15.2MM) carries a higher figure going into the 2016 season on the Broncos’ roster.
If Kaepernick doesn’t agree to restructure, the 49ers would have to pick up part of his contract to facilitate a trade, Mike Klis of 9News reports. San Francisco’s quiet free agency has the team sitting at $53.8MM in cap room — the most in the league. Klis also writes that the 49ers’ sudden accelerated interest in allowing Kaepernick to seek a path out of the Bay Area stems from the team beginning its offseason program Monday; the Broncos don’t begin theirs until April 18.
Denver has a quick way to clear $8.9MM from its books by trading or releasing Ryan Clady. The sides have met multiple times since the Combine, Renck reports, with the longtime left tackle remaining on the Broncos’ cap sheet for $10.1MM.
Clady previously agreed to discuss a restructure, but nothing’s materialized. In the meantime, the Broncos added Donald Stephenson and Russell Okung, leaving Clady without a logical place on the team.
The Broncos have just Mark Sanchez and Trevor Siemian under contract at present, with the 49ers employing Blaine Gabbert at a much cheaper rate. Although money isn’t an issue for the 49ers right now, there appears to be a significant divide between the team and Kaepernick despite Chip Kelly‘s public overtures toward keeping him.
Despite quarterbacking the team to back-to-back playoff NFC championship games, Kaepernick was benched last season and hasn’t been able to consistently replicate the play that helped the 49ers reach those destinations over the past two seasons.
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