The San Francisco 49ers have downplayed trade rumors involving Colin Kaepernick this offseason, as reports have the Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears and Browns as teams that could be potentially interested in making a deal Niners and this comes after the departure of Frank Gore and Trent Baalke bringing in Jim Tomsula to take over for Jim Harbaugh.
According to Pro Football Talk, rumors started circulating about Kaepernick after Houston KBME radio host Jayson Braddock wrote on Twitter that teams were looking into the QB after the "49ers put him on the trading block". Braddock added that his source is a "legitimate one" and that the Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago bears along with another "unnamed team" have made contact about Kaepernick's availability.
Baalke later came out to say that "Colin is our quarterback" and denied anything about the trade rumors. The Niners likely will keep Kaepernick for now, but it's not a surprise that they were not totally pleased with his play last season. Kaepernick signed a contract that goes through the 2020 season and this offseason he is reportedly working with coaches to become a better "touch passer". Kaepernick regressed last season compared to his play in 2013 and the team is hoping he can bounce back this year.
According to the KBME radio report, the Eagles and Bears could be interested in Kaepernick. The Eagles make sense, as they have been looking at Marcus Mariota as a target and could trade Nick Foles and that means Kaepernick could be a fall back option. The Bears have been considering a trade with Jay Cutler this offseason after he was benched last year and they could try and move him to get Kaepernick in a deal. While Kaepernick likely will stay, the rumors could continue through the season if the Niners struggle.
CSN Bay Area reported earlier in the offseason that the Niners can move on from Kaepernick and his contract during a window each offseason and that could happen depending on how the season goes. Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News added that the team can walk away from the deal through "April 1 of each of the next five years with no further financial obligation." This could affect what the team does, although the report says that Kaepernick likely will get another year to see if he works things out.
Pro Football Talk writes that people should be ready for a "49ers surprise" on Tuesday and that could refer to Kaepernick or perhaps a release of a veteran, with names like Vernon Davis and Patrick Willis as possibilities. Spoiler alert, the surprise is that Patrick Willis will announce his retirement at the age of 30 for the Niners this week.
The way Kaepernick has his contract structured makes the trade rumors something that likely will not go away, as the team has the chance to get away from the contract after each season. Adding to the situation is that Jim Harbaugh was the man who brought Kaepernick in and pushed him to be the starter. The team may continue supporting Kaepernick, but if he takes another step back this season, they may look at other options for Jim Tomsula.