Quarterback Colin Kaepernick ended up staying with the San Francisco 49ers, even though it seems like neither side wanted that.
The 49ers didn’t want to sell low and trade Kaepernick to the Denver Broncos for a lesser draft pick than they wanted. When Denver picked Paxton Lynch in the first round, that ended the trade talks. And there were no other teams that were interested in Kaepernick or had an opening at quarterback. So everyone had to smile and pretend to be happy.
Kaepernick is playing along.
“What Chip [Kelly], the coaching staff, my teammates have really done this offseason, and the work they’ve put in and how everything has been going, I’m very excited to be here,” Kaepernick said, according to CSN Bay Area. “I’m very happy to be here. And looking forward to training camp.”
It’s hard to believe that Kaepernick is really happy to be with the 49ers after all that has gone on this offseason, but what choice does he have?
It’s especially hard to buy that Kaepernick is thrilled to be with the 49ers after he said he hasn’t had any interaction with general manager Trent Baalke since he reported to the team’s offseason program on April 4.
“No, I haven’t had any discussions with him,” Kaepernick said, according to CSN Bay Area. “But, once again, I don’t want to get into specifics. I want to focus on football and making sure I’m prepared for this upcoming season.”
Kaepernick faces an important season. Another poor season would mean he’s three seasons removed from the truly high level he reached in 2011-13. But he did reach that high level, and it can happen again. However, he seems to have an uphill climb.
Kaepernick was hurt last year. He underwent surgery for a torn labrum in his left shoulder, and also had surgeries on his right thumb and left knee. He’s still working his way back, getting back to being able to do individual drills in practice only this week, and CSN Bay Area wrote that he has lost a noticeable amount of weight. Kaepernick admitted he needs to put on a “substantial amount of weight” before training camp starts in late July.
He’ll need to compete with Blaine Gabbert for the starting job, and NFL Network’s Michael Silver labeled Gabbert as a “heavy favorite” to begin the season as San Francisco’s starting quarterback. It’s hard to believe a healthy Kaepernick couldn’t beat out Gabbert, but we don’t know if Kaepernick is healthy and he’s also learning a new offense under Kelly. If Kaepernick can’t win the starting job from Gabbert, it’s probably not the best sign for him though.
At least Kaepernick and the 49ers are playing nice and saying the right things. Nobody needs to make this any more uncomfortable than it already appears to be.
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