Contrary to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter last week, the 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick is not a lock to opt out of his contract by the March 2 deadline, a source close to the quarterback told Kevin Lynch of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Kaepernick is currently undecided on which path he’ll take and wants to talk to the franchise’s new brass – general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan – before determining his future. As of now, Kaepernick “feels his relationship with the team has never been better and doesn’t want the team to think he wants to leave,” writes Lynch.
Even if Kaepernick wants to stay in San Francisco, that doesn’t mean the club will have interest in retaining him, of course. Cutting Kaepernick would save the 49ers $16.9MM in cap space next season and give them nearly $100MM in breathing room. Plus, Shanahan is reportedly likely to want someone else under center, and veterans Kirk Cousins (Redskins), Jimmy Garoppolo (Patriots), Matt Schaub (Falcons) and Jay Cutler (Bears) have come up in recent weeks as candidates to become the 49ers’ next starting signal-caller. San Francisco is also in possession of the second pick in this year’s draft, so it could conceivably reel in its starting passer for 2017 via that route.
Kaepernick, meanwhile, drew more attention for his political activism than his play last season, though the 29-year-old did post respectable numbers as part of a two-win team. After a truncated, injury-laden 2015 in which he threw six touchdowns against five interceptions and averaged 6.2 yards per attempt, Kaepernick bounced back with 16 scores, four picks and a 7.2 YPA in 2016. His completion rate was again below average (59.2 percent – right in line with a career 59.8), but he did reestablish himself as a major threat on the ground with a robust 6.8 yards per carry and two more TDs on 69 rushes. Only the Bills’ Tyrod Taylor had more rushing yards among QBs than Kaepernick’s 468. It’s now possible each of those two will end up available in the coming weeks, as the Bills could cut Taylor.
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