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Colin Kaepernick trade rumors: Where things stand, what's next

The Colin Kaepernick saga drags on. Will we see a deal get done?

The San Francisco 49ers have spent the past however many days trying to trade quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and we enter the second week of free agency with no resolution. The team has remained quite publicly, but privately would seem to be floating some rumors to build leverage in a trade. The question now is where exactly do we stand?

Who is interested?

The Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos have been the two most prominently mentioned teams. The New York Jets have also been mentioned, but they seemed to think the Broncos were going to get a deal done. There were rumors earlier this year that Kaepernick wanted to join the New York Jets, but nothing has come of that since those initial rumors.

What's going on with the Cleveland Browns?

Matt Barrows is reporting the Browns offered up their high third round pick, and the 49ers are amenable to that. The Browns reportedly want a restructured deal with Kaepernick. We have heard Kaepernick is open to restructuring his deal, but now Barrows is saying the Browns non-start in free agency has Kaepernick thinking twice. The team has let free agents walk without putting up much of the fight, leaving the Browns getting comparisons to the Philadelphia 76ers. That is not a good thing.

What's going on with the Broncos?

Mike Silver reported that he thought the two sides were "there" for compensation, but has backed off of that. Barrows is reporting the Broncos are offering their third. That would be an issue because thanks to their Super Bowl victory, that is at the back end of the third round. The 49ers want their second round pick since it's right up there with the Browns. Silver reported the Broncos and Kaepernick's team had productive discussions about his contract.

Would Kaepernick actually stay in Santa Clara?

Mike Silver suggested the 49ers are amenable to keeping Kaepernick this season if they can't get a trade done. They do retain his contract rights, so they could force him to return, but it seems like a bad idea. I think Kap would be a professional about this if the team told him they were not trading him, but why do that? I get that his contract is relatively inexpensive for quarterbacks, but if he is not starting this season, I just can't see the team keeping him around. But it might come down to who blinks first in this fiasco.

What do RG3 and Ryan Fitzpatrick have to do with this?

They might have nothing to do with it, they might have everything to do with it! The Jets have been trying to re-sign Ryan Fitzpatrick, but that is not working out. Fitzpatrick reportedly spoke with the Broncos, but Denver thinks his asking price is too high right now. The Jets brought in Robert Griffin III for a visit Friday and Saturday. I don't think they're just wasting their time on this, but I could see them hoping this also brings Fitzpatrick back to the table. The Broncos need a quarterback, and if Fitzpatrick returns to the Jets, that's one less option for the Broncos. And of course, the 49ers have been connected to RG3 at times. I would think if they were really interested, they would meet with him, but nothing has been reported on that.

What's next?

At some point I would think someone blinks in this, but the 49ers are playing things close to their chest. It's March 14, so we still have 17 days left before Kaepernick's deal becomes fully guaranteed. I don't think that is the end of the world for a potential trade since contracts can easily be re-negotiated. But it does give Kaepernick more leverage in this conversation. I think a deal gets done sooner rather than later, but if the Broncos don't budge on their pick, the 49ers are going to need to take the later pick to make something happen.