Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback, and his agents have requested the team permission from the team to seek a trade, according to several reports.
The news, first reported by NFL Network, comes as a surprise barely hours after new 49ers coach Chip Kelly said the QB wanted to stay put with the team. “He wants to be here. He’s never expressed to me that he didn’t want to be here. He expressed to me that he’s excited about getting healthy and getting going,” Kelly said earlier Thursday at the NFL combine.
Kaepernick’s future with the 49ers has been subject to discussion for some time. The 28-year-old, recovering from multiple surgeries, was benched midway through the last season after the team’s disappointing 2-6 start. Kaepernick holds a player option for 2016 and would have to be traded before April 1. Otherwise, his base salary of $11.9 million becomes guaranteed.
NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal wrote Thursday: “This trade request should get Kelly’s attention. Kelly and Kaepernick appear to be a good fit on the field, but February is not football season. It’s business season. Kaepernick, whose $11.9 million contract becomes guaranteed April 1, apparently believes he would be better off elsewhere.”
The perfect marriage…
Despite the reports, coach Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke are convinced that Kaepernick wants to stay in the Bay Area. In fact, Baalke reckons Kaepernick and Kelly’s system are a “perfect marriage”. According to Baalke, Kaepernick would be difficult to replace. “There’s not a lot of quarterbacks that make it to free agency,” Baalke noted.
Earlier today, Kelly dismissed the reports. “I’ve also learned to not believe everything that’s on the Internet,” the new 49ers coach told the Sacramento Bee.
Over the last few years, Colin Kaepernick has had surgeries to his left shoulder, right thumb and left knee. One wonders if the 49ers are better off without the QB they drafted back in 2011.