San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick will likely either be with the team in 2016, traded to a new team, or released before his $11.9 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed on April 1. There has been a lot of talk recently about a potential trade since Kaepernick's agents requested permission from the team to seek such a deal.
We've talked about it at length -- the potential for Kaepernick to be traded, likely trade partners, what it means for the 49ers and so much more. But the more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that, while a trade still isn't necessarily likely, it could be more likely than we've been thinking.
When Kaepernick signed his massive contract extension, many pointed out the fact that it was a team-friendly deal that included multiple ways for the team to get out of the deal if things went south with Kaepernick. But you also need to keep in mind that the 49ers still committed a lot of money to him and felt good about doing so.
That's because of Kaepernick's potential and the high level of play he flashed from time to time. The deal was something of a gamble, but Kaepernick looked like he was going in the right direction at the very least. But what I'm starting to feel is that Kaepernick's deal just might be friendly enough to be appealing to another team on a trade.
I cannot overstate that $11.9 million is a lot of money. And of course, he is also owed $2 million in roster bonuses (paid weekly) and a $400,000 workout bonus. But if a team really likes Kaepernick's potential, then isn't that kind of money worth forking over for a one-year try? If a team really thought there was something there, they don't need to look at Kaepernick's contract in its entirety, they just need to weigh whether or not they can swallow Kaepernick's 2016 salary and nothing else.
I believe there are teams in the league that would be willing to do that. Whether they believe they would need to given the chances he's released by the team or whether they would be willing to include compensation to the 49ers are entirely different factors.
But from a straight-up contract standpoint, I can see Kaepernick being worth the investment to an interested team specifically due to the way his contract is structured -- not the opposite.