Chip Kelly has remained quiet about his intentions with Colin Kaepernick despite all of the reports saying the quarterback will be released once the offseason begins. However, those reports might not be as final as some believe despite the heavy salary cap hit Kaepernick carries. With an uncertain quarterback market in the NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers appear to favor bringing back Kaepernick and allowing him to be the starter.
According to team owner Jed York, there is "no question in my mind" that Kaepernick can be the starting quarterback in 2016. This is certainly a major change of tune from the rumors during the year after Kaepernick was benched and Blaine Gabbert took over the starting role. However, with Kelly now in at head coach, Kaepernick is the best quarterback suited to run his style of offense and York is catching on to the idea.
"I think the nice thing is we have the third-most salary cap room in the league, and everybody wants to make a big issue of, 'Well, you need to make a decision on Colin.' Etcetera, etcetera," York said, via CSNBayArea.com. "We want Colin to get back healthy as soon as possible. We want to make sure that he's able to take the field whenever he's available. And we've all seen what Colin can do. Taking us to a Super Bowl, an NFC Championship game the year after. He's had a great career here. Obviously last year wasn't a great year for any of us in red and gold. And I think Chip is going to be a great addition, not just for Kap, but for the rest of the team. I'm excited to see where it goes."
York has some decisions to make on the roster. Kaepernick and Gabbert are two different types of quarterbacks. If Kaepernick comes back in 2016, the 49ers could offer Gabbert in a trade to another team or they could simply continue with both quarterbacks on the roster like last season. Gabbert knows he will return to competing for the starting quarterback job and he remains hopeful that idea still stands with Kelly in as head coach.
"I'm going to compete," Gabbert said, via SFGate.com. "That's in my blood. That's who I am as a person. I'm going to be the starting quarterback ... and that's the way I'm approaching the offseason. ... I'm going to take this team and run with it."
According to the Sacramento Bee, the 49ers are in the mix to acquire either Robert Griffin III or Johnny Manziel to place in the backup role. Both quarterbacks have similar skill sets to Kaepernick and would work well in the offense Kelly runs. Sources believe that Gabbert could end up being a trade target as a result. The quarterback might be worth a low draft pick for the team. Kelly and York are clearly seriously considering bringing back Kaepernick which will be the first major decision of the offseason.