The San Francisco 49ers return to practice for mandatory minicamp on Tuesday, and Ian Rapoport told us earlier today that Colin Kaepernick is not expected to be medically cleared for the three days of practice. Matt Maiocco confirmed that with his own source, but later in the morning, Matt Barrows added some details on the why.
We all saw pictures of Kaepernick appearing to have lost a lot of the muscle we've seen on him in years' past. According to Barrows' source, Kaepernick is going to spend the month and a half until training camp working with the 49ers strength and conditioning team "to get his body back to pre-injury form." They believe the three days of minicamp offer minimal gain in the bigger picture, and so they want to focus on having him ready for training camp.
Separately, Barrows also said he thinks the team might be cautious due to the significant injury guarantees in Kaepernick's contract. Kaepernick's 2016 base salary became fully guaranteed when he was on the roster April 1. Moving forward, his 2017 base salary ($14.5 million) is guaranteed for injury, and $5,226,234 of his 2018 base salary is guaranteed for injury. The 2017 number becomes fully guaranteed next April, and the 2018 number becomes fully guaranteed in April 2018. Three days is not exactly a huge difference, but I can see why the team would rather just play it safe and get that extra month and a half of time with the strength and conditioning staff.
Kaepernick has been on hand throughout the offseason workout program, but he has only been able to shadow Blaine Gabbert, Thad Lewis, and Jeff Driskel during the various drills. He is gaining critical knowledge of the playbook, but the quarterback competition will take its biggest step forward once he is actually a full participant in practice.