After telling reporters earlier this morning that he expects Colin Kaepernick to be on the 49ers’ roster through April 1st, general manager Trent Baalke doubled down during his press conference, asserting that Kaepernick will “absolutely” remain with the team (Twitter links via Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee and Matt Miller of Bleacher Report).
According to Baalke, the current expectation for the Niners is that Kaepernick will enter training camp this summer prepared to compete with Blaine Gabbert for the team’s starting quarterback job. Gabbert finished the 2015 campaign as San Francisco’s starter, but there’s some optimism that Kaepernick can rebound under new head coach Chip Kelly.
April 1st is a key date for the Niners and Kaepernick, since if the quarterback remains on the team’s roster beyond that day, his $11.9MM salary for 2016 will become fully guaranteed. Currently, as he recovers from various injuries that plagued him in 2015, Kaepernick’s ’16 salary is guaranteed for injury only. Based on his comments today, Baalke fully intends to have Kaepernick on the roster beyond April 1st, locking in the QB’s salary for next season.
While Baalke’s comments today sounded fairly definitive, there’s still time for the team to change its mind in the coming weeks. Tim Kawakami of San Jose Mercury News wrote last night that Kaepernick “understandably remains generally distrustful of team management’s motivations,” and Baalke did leave the door open today for possible changes at the position.
“We feel pretty good with the guys we have, but we’re always looking,” Baalke said, per Around the NFL (via Twitter). “We’re going to look at every avenue.”
According to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com (via Twitter), Baalke was also asked about offensive tackle Anthony Davis today. The GM said he has had contact with Davis, who took the 2015 season off, but isn’t sure where things stand, adding that there’s not much to talk about until the veteran tackle is reinstated.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.