The San Francisco 49ers return to training camp in just over six weeks, and at that point the bubble watch goes into overdrive. The team wrapped up its offseason workout program, and some players impressed more than others. Bubble players did not lock up or lose roster spots in the workout program, but they did help or hurt their cases heading into training camp.
Over the next two weeks, we’re going to take a look at each position, and what the bubble watch looks like. As we’ve done for many years now, the bubble watch breaks down to lock, strong bubble, weak bubble, and longshot. For some positions, we'll have multiple players listed at strong bubble, even though not all are likely to make the roster. But the idea is that they both stand a good shot, even if it is just one of them. We’ll start out with the quarterback position.
Lock: Blaine Gabbert, Colin Kaepernick
Strong bubble: None
Weak bubble: Thad Lewis, Jeff Driskel
It's only fitting that the bubble watch is weird right off the bat. I still think the 49ers could decide to trade Colin Kaepernick. I think it is unlikely at this point he is dealt, but I would not put anything past the front office. That being said, if they do not trade him, I do not expect the 49ers to cut him. The cap hit is not an issue, but if he loses the QB competition to Blaine Gabbert, the 49ers will keep him on the roster. There will be arguments to the contrary, but I just don't see it to the point where I would move Kap down to the bubble.
I think the 49ers end up keeping three quarterbacks on the roster, but that’s certainly not a guarantee. If they do keep three, I wonder if it comes down to a Baalke-Kelly showdown of sorts. Baalke signed Thad Lewis, who spent time with Kelly in Philadelphia, and then drafted Jeff Driskel. I have no idea if Kelly will push for Lewis, but it will be interesting to see who gets what playing time this preseason between the third and fourth string quarterbacks.