The San Francisco 49ers quarterback situation is not overly settled at this point, and general manager Trent Baalke's Wednesday press conference at the NFL Combine did not exactly clear the air. In a pre-press conference scrum with Bay Area media, Baalke said he expects Colin Kaepernick to be on the roster April 1 when his 2016 base salary becomes fully guaranteed. During his main press conference, Baalke was again asked if he expects Kap to be on the roster. His response was "absolutely", which naturally had folks all atwitter.
Later in the press conference, when asked about the quarterback position, Baalke said the team feels "pretty good" about what they have, but they're always looking. That's certainly not an awe-inspiring vote of confidence, but I don't think anybody would really expect him to be overly effusive, or overly negative.
After the press conference, we got a little more clarification on the Kap comments. Baalke spoke with KNBR (h/t Germinator), and they spent the first 5:30 talking about Kap (audio). Baalke said Kap is under contract and the team fully expects him to be around. The hosts followed up on his "absolutely" comment, and Baalke said there are no absolutes in the NFL.
All this does not really tell us a whole lot of much about what will happen over the next five weeks. The two sides were expected to meet this week in Indianapolis, but there is no word on when. At some point, if a meeting does happen, something will be leaked out. I remain skeptical he is back with the 49ers in 2016, but I think most of us assumed Alex Smith was gone after the 2010 season. They are not apples-to-apples situations, but it goes to show anything can happen.
Here's what Baalke said about Kap during his KNBR interview.
On Kap being on roster:
That's been the question down here by everybody. He's under contract, and we fully expect him to be with us. And I know Coach is excited to get his hands on him, just like he is everybody else. Because he has no working knowledge of any of these guys. There's not one person on our football team that he has any real working knowledge of, other than Arik Armstead from the college level.
On "absolutely" comment about Kap being on roster:
It's like I said down here, is there any absolute in this business? He's certainly doing a good job with his rehab. Talking to the doctors, they're excited about where he's at. He's still got some work to do. We're looking forward to the offseason program and getting this thing rolling.
On timing for when they can do football work with Kap:
I don't know the exact date, when we open, I'd have to look at my calendar. But it's after April 1 by the time we get these guys out. I believe it's April 4, if I'm not mistaken.
On if Kaepernick will be fully healthy then, and ready to hit the field:
That's up to the medical staff. I don't have the answer to that. I think he's progressing well. Whether he's gonna be ready on that date or not remains to be seen. But we'll get him out there as soon as we can.
On why Kap regressed in 2015:
Well, I think first of all, what's the answer? I don't know. I don't have a crystal ball to be able to look in and see what was different, why there was a setback. And I wouldn't look at just one position, I would look at us as a whole. We finished almost dead last on offense, and that isn't one person's fault. There's a lot of things that go into play when you struggle the way we did. So to pin that on one person would be more than unfair. But I'm certainly looking forward to getting all these guys back out there and seeing what we can do. We've got some young pieces that we gotta put in place. We're position well for free agency. We've got 12 picks in this upcoming draft, and we're picking high in the top third in each round. So you got a great opportunity, we do, to rebuild this football team.
On Chip Kelly relationship and what it means with Kap:
The same way we do all of our players. You go through where he's at, and where these guys have been, and where we think we can take them to. It's gonna be a new system for our guys, so it's a learning curve for everybody. But I know the staff is working very hard to put together and look at the terminology and try to see what we can sell, as well as what we can't, and move forward. There's definitely going to be a learning curve for all of us. And I'm excited. I think the guys are excited, I know the coaching staff's excited. I think the organization as a whole is excited to get this thing going.
On need or plan to renegotiate Kap's contract:
No, there's no plans to do that whatsoever.