The NFL trade deadline has come and gone, and the San Francisco 49ers made no moves on Tuesday. The team dealt Vernon Davis on Monday, but they could not get any additional deals done. Jason LaCanfora pushed some speculation about Joe Staley, but that did not come to fruition. Instead, the 49ers head into the rest of the season with the roster we currently see.
There had been some speculation about Colin Kaepernick in light of his demotion. He is due $11.9 million in 2016, with his salary set to become fully guaranteed on April 1. It is possible this demotion only proves temporary, but it could also mark the end of his playing time with the 49ers.
The 49ers cannot trade Kaepernick between now and the end of the season, but they can trade him once the new league year starts in mid-March. $11.9 million is a lot of money, but given the lack of quality quarterbacks, another NFL team might be willing to roll the dice that they can turn Kaepernick around. They will not be locked into anything beyond his 2016 salary, so it is not exactly the worst idea in the world.
For comparison's sake, the Philadelphia Eagles dealt for Sam Bradford earlier this year, and took on his $12,985,000 salary for 2015. It's not all that different from Kaepernick's deal since a team taking on his deal would be able to get out of it in a year. In fact, there is more value to it because if Kaepernick performs well, the team can just roll him over into 2017.
The next step in the Colin Kaepernick drama remains to be seen. I would be surprised if he was on the 49ers roster after April 1, 2016, but anything is possible. If we don't see Kaepernick play the rest of the season, there is virtually zero chance he returns in 2016. However, if he does get back on the field, it opens the door to potentially restructuring his contract. That is a long-shot in my opinion, but I'm not counting anything entirely out at this point.