The Colin Kaepernick sweepstakes have begun! With the San Francisco 49ers first saying they wanted their quarterback on the roster in 2016, and then the rumblings of Kaepernick requesting a trade, we now have our first contestants:
#49ers still hope Colin Kaepernick is their QB in '16. If not, #Texans & #Browns (at least) will have some interest. No trade permission yet— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 27, 2016
And away we go! The first thing the 49ers will have to do is figure out if they actually can keep Kaepernick before they even think of trade talks. From a salary cap standpoint, the team will have no problem paying him that $11.9 million salary, but that's all riding on if Kap actually wants to stick around. From the looks of things, it might be a bit delusional to think Kaepernick stays after everything that's happened.
The Cleveland Browns make sense. There's been quite a few posts about how Hue Jackson wanted to draft Kaepernick in 2011, only for him to be taken by the 49ers. Jackson also likes mobile quarterbacks. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you see it, the Browns hold the number 2 pick in the draft and can take a rookie like Carson Wentz or Jarred Goff instead. I saw a comment the other day about how the 49ers should package a trade sending Kaepernick and their 1st round pick in exchange for Cleveland's 1st rounder. While that's a great idea, the value of picking second is going to cost just a little bit more.
The Houston Texans on the other hand, don't have a high pick in the draft nor a long-term solution at quarterback. Bill O'Brien typically favors pocket passers in his offenses, something that Kaepernick has struggled transitioning to. If the Texans were to be interested, it'd be interesting to see Kaepernick run that offense.
All of this would be dependent on the interested parties wanting to take Kaepernick's contract. While Kaepernick is due a nice chunk of money, it's year to year. If Kaepernick is released, you can bet he's learned from this and will be wanting a more player friendly deal if he signs something fresh. For that reason, teams may want to take the $11.9 million hit and see if he's worth it. They can cut bait after a year and it won't cost them anything in dead money for future years. If you see it from that standpoint, teams may want to have that contract in place, but that's blind speculation at this point.
All said, these won't be the only two teams that will be interested in Kaepernick, there's certainly more names to drop. Just sit back and watch the sweepstakes unfold. The big date is April 1st. We'll know a lot of what the plans are by then.