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What does Chip Kelly hiring mean for Colin Kaepernick's status with the 49ers?

The San Francisco 49ers went for the splashy hire, and signed on for the Chip Kelly experience. It was a slightly wild time for Kelly in Philadelphia, culminating in his firing shortly before the end of the season. There have been numerous questions about how his offensive philosophies would translate to the NFL, and there were plenty of "I told you so" once he got canned.

It remains to be seen what the offense will look like in 2016, but one huge question is the future of quarterback Colin Kaepernick. It was a rough year for Kap, as he was benched midway through the season, and subequently underwent three different surgeries late in the season and into the offseason.

Kaepernick's 2016 base salary is guaranteed for injury, and becomes fully guaranteed if he is on the roster on April 1. Given how things went down this past year, I strongly believed Kap would be released or traded by April 1. Since Chip Kelly first interviewed last week, however, there have been reports he is a big fan of Kaepernick. Most recently, Ian Rapoport had this to say:

And yet, it remains to be seen what Kap's status is like. While he and Kelly might get along, one has to wonder how much Kap trusts the 49ers at this point. And of course, even if everybody gets along, would the 49ers be willing to pay him the money he is owed in 2016? There are numerous questions about that.

I've heard from someone close to the situation who suggested Tim Kawakami's article, "What if new 49ers coach wants Colin Kaepernick?" is the best article on the subject. Kawakami's article said it is his understanding that Kap will not accept a pay cut, and would be fine waiting for the 49ers to release him. Now that Kelly is in as coach, this could create an intriguing situation over the next three months. And the first real test of the Trent Baalke-Chip Kelly relationship.

According to Cam Inman, Kap was not contacted by Kelly or the 49ers over the last 11 days. Maybe Kelly wants him as his quarterback, maybe Kelly wants to work with someone else. We don't know. Kelly is meeting with the media next week for his introductory press conference, and I am sure there will be plenty of questions about his future.