In a somewhat surprising move, the 49ers have decided to shelve Colin Kaepernick for the rest of the season.
The team announced today that they’ve placed the quarterback on the injured reserve. Quarterback Dylan Thompson has been promoted from the practice squad to take his place, tweets Aaron Wilson the Houston Chronicle.
The fifth-year quarterback who had been benched for the 49ers’ previous game due to ineffectiveness went through practice as a full participant this week, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch reports (on Twitter), and was listed on the injury report as probable with a left shoulder injury. However, after Friday’s practice, Kaepernick consulted with the 49ers’ team doctor, complaining of left shoulder pain, and the team opted for this IR move, per Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee (Twitter link).
Barrows also tweets a second opinion revealed a significant tear in Kaepernick’s left labrum, inducing a likely surgery.
NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport hears the injury will require surgery (Twitter link), something Kaepernick is requesting, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). As rumors are rampant for a Saturday afternoon, Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group’s tweeting Kaepernick’s surgery’s already scheduled for Tuesday.
Kaepernick has a $16.7MM cap hold in 2016, but the 49ers can avoid paying him the $11.9MM base salary set for next season if they cut him prior to April 1, ESPN.com’s Adam Caplan tweets.
Speculation’s already begun as to whether the signal-caller’s played his last game as a 49er, with Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller wondering if the team wants to make sure the former second-round pick is healthy before they release him in the offseason (Twitter link). As long as Kaepernick can pass his physical, the 49ers aren’t on the hook for the aforementioned salary, per Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk.
Following two seasons where he guided the 49ers to the NFC title game, Kaepernick signed a team-friendly, six-year, $114MM deal in June 2014. The quarterback’s salaries from 2015-17 are guaranteed for injury only, increasing the 49ers’ incentive to be over-protective here, as their season is almost certain to not end in the playoffs.
No more fully guaranteed money remains on Kaepernick’s contract after this season, as NFL.com’s Albert Breer notes (via Twitter), despite the QB playing in just the second year of the deal.
Sam Robinson contributed to this report