6:35pm: NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport echoes Schefter’s report, providing more details on the meeting.
“My understanding is Colin Kaepernick sat down with general manager Trent Baalke and discussed among other things potential free agent targets for next year and the plan for 2016, a sign that maybe — just maybe — the 49ers are not done with Kaepernick yet,” Rapoport said on NFL Network’s GameDay Morning (via Kevin Patra of NFL.com). “I’m told he is in their plans for 2016.”
9:22am: Most NFL writers and talking heads believe that the 49ers and quarterback Colin Kaepernick will part ways this offseason. San Francisco appears to be headed towards a rebuilding phase, Kaepernick’s performance has declined precipitously over the last several seasons, and there is plenty of reported interest in Kaepernick’s services among quarterback-needy teams who remain intrigued by the 28-year-old’s upside. Indeed, the majority of articles published over the last several weeks have focused on where Kaepernick will end up in 2016, and San Francisco has not appeared on many of those lists.
But according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter), Kaepernick met with team officials last week, and both sides are open to a reunion in 2016. Of course, neither party would publicly foreclose the possibility of a return at this point, but it is interesting to note that there was a meeting between team and player that apparently went well. Both sides were rumored to be looking for a fresh start, and recent reports indicated that the 49ers would continue to dangle Kaepernick in trade talks in the offseason after they were contacted by at least three teams who were interested in acquiring the signal-caller in advance of this year’s trade deadline.
Of course, Kaepernick’s contract situation is a complicating factor in all of this. His $11.9MM salary in 2016 is currently guaranteed for injury only, but it becomes fully guaranteed on April 1, 2016. The shoulder surgery that he underwent on November 24 has a recovery time of four to six months, and if he cannot pass a physical by April 1, the team would be forced to guarantee his salary. If that’s the case, and if a trade is untenable–as at least one national writer believes–then maybe Kaepernick will, in fact, return to the team he starred for not long ago.