In case anybody was wondering, the Denver Broncos pursuit of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is officially over. The Broncos traded up on Thursday to select Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch, and general manager John Elway confirmed that the pick ended their pursuit of Kaepernick.
John Elway told 9news this ends Broncos pursuit of Colin Kaepernick #9news— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) April 29, 2016
There are plenty of questions remaining, but the most pertinent is, what now happens with Kap? He is under contract to the 49ers, and they have plenty of cap room for a potential $15.8 million cap hit. If he has been able to develop a solid relationship with Chip Kelly over the last few weeks, that certainly bodes well for a productive 2016 season. We've heard reports Trent Baalke is enamored with Blaine Gabbert, so all indications are that this team is headed for a serious quarterback competition between now and the end of training camp.
The 49ers have nine more draft picks, so another quarterback could be added to the mix. However, that quarterback is likely going to be more developmental option than immediate impact option. This was likely the case no matter what, but with Kaepernick unlikely to be traded for the time being, that player shifts a little further down the depth chart.
Where it gets particularly interesting is if Gabbert wins the QB competition. Does the team do like Washington did with RG3 and de-activate Kap most of the season? We're getting a little ahead of ourselves, but there would be two reasons for that option: 1) They keep Kaepernick out of any potential situation where he gets hurt and his 2017 salary becomes guaranteed, 2) They avoid paying out the $2 million in roster bonus money. It would be a big waste of his $11.9 million base salary, but I would not be surprised if it is on the table. For now, we wait and see what OTAs and training camp bring.