The Colin Kaepernick sage is just starting as the quarterback faces a lot of uncertainty in his future. Kaepernick was the franchise quarterback heading into 2015, but he was benched for Blaine Gabbert and then landed on injured reserve. Many expected the 49ers to move on from Kaepernick in the offseason, but the hiring of Chip Kelly changed that. Despite being viewed as the perfect quarterback to run Kelly's offense, Kaepernick is eyeing an exit from San Francisco.
According to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, Kaepernick is seeking a release from the 49ers with an eye on the New York Jets as a landing spot. This plan has a lot of holes in it. First and foremost, Kaepernick does not control his own destiny in the matter. Mehta believes the 49ers would prefer to trade the quarterback over simply releasing him and the Jets are not going to make that move. Second, it is unclear if the Jets would show any interest in Kaepernick if he were to become available either via trade or release.
The biggest issue for the 49ers and Kaepernick is that come April 1, his $11.9 million salary becomes fully guaranteed. No team will take that on and the 49ers have to decide if they are willing to retain it. Kelly said in his opening press conference that the presence of Kaepernick made the 49ers a very attractive target for him as a head coach. Kaepernick mobility is the perfect skill set to have in his offense which is why many believe the quarterback stays put.
In terms of the New York Jets, general manager Mike Maccagnan told the New York Post they intend to retain Ryan Fitzpatrick while potentially drafting younger at the position for the future. If the Jets were to eye a trade for Kaepernick, they could try to offer up Geno Smith in the swap, but the chances the 49ers bite on that are slim. At this point all signs point to Fitzpatrick staying put and Kaepernick not landing in the Big Apple.
Unhappiness from Kaepernick could lead the 49ers to simply release the quarterback and stick with Blaine Gabbert. The team has been eyeing draft options at the position. Jared Goff, Paxton Lynch and Carson Wentz are the best available. Dak Prescott could be a good option for Kelly while the Sacramento Bee reports Robert Griffin III or Johnny Manziel are not crazy options for the 49ers. Fans might not be thrilled about that plan.
Kaepernick has not spoken about his future in San Francisco so it is unclear where Mehta is getting the insight. When speaking with the media, Kaepernick has focused on his need to heal from his injuries before anything else. However, April 1 will come up quickly and the 49ers need to make a decision one way or another.