Each year, we run a series of post called "90-in-90" here at Niners Nation. The idea is that we'll take a look at every single player on the roster, from the very bottom to the top and break them down a few different ways. This is to help give everyone a basic understanding of a roster. Of course, this roster will change, and some days we'll have more than one so it's not strictly one per day but you get the idea.
Tracy and Steph are here to discuss San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for our annual 90-in-90 series. Check out the video above to get their thoughts on him heading into the 2016 season. I’ll include some additional thoughts below.
The past year has been pretty crazy for Kaepernick. Signed to a long-term contract extension the summer before the 2014 season, Kaepernick was benched last fall, although injuries likely played some role in that. That was followed by trade rumors throughout the early part of the offseason. Kaepernick eventually joined the 49ers for the start of the offseason workout program, and we have reached the point where it would seem like he is not going anywhere for this year. This season will determine if we go through all this nonsense again next spring.
Age: 28 (29 on November 3)
Experience: 6 accrued seasons
Weight: 230 lbs
Entering the second season of his six-year contract extension. He signed it prior to the 2014 season, getting a signing bonus at that point, but the first year of the extension was 2015. Kaepernick is set to earn a base salary of $11.9 million this season. He received a $400,000 workout bonus for attending the offseason workout program, and can earn up to $2 million in roster bonuses. His 2016 cap hit is set to be $15,890,753. It would have been $16,765,753, but the missed games while on injured reserve mean part of his roster bonus is listed as "not likely to be earned" as opposed to "likely to be earned." Feel free to read all about his contract in this rundown from 2014.
Why he might improve
He’s got a cannon of an arm, ridiculous athleticism, and a strong work ethic, and hopefully is back to 100 percent health. Chip Kelly provides a unique offensive mind that could provide an offense in which Kaepernick excels. Intermediate accuracy is going to be an issue he must contend with, but Kelly is the kind of offensive coach that can do a good job putting his players in a position to succeed. Kelly is on the short list of quality offensive coaches that can help put Kaepernick in a position to succeed. Kaepernick still needs to make the necessary adjustments and improvements, but the situation is intriguing for him.
Why he might regress
The first issue is injury. Kaepernick was starting to practice in minicamp, but was not fully cleared. I would hope he is fully cleared for the start of training camp, but we won’t know until the team makes their PUP and NFI announcements. Beyond that, Kaepernick has enough flaws that could just not come around for him. Maybe that intermediate accuracy won’t improve. Maybe some of the decision-making remains an issue. Maybe Gabbert ends up showing something that Kelly thinks he can work with this season. Kaepernick is talented, but Kelly is not just going to automatically make him a better quarterback. There is plenty on Kap’s shoulders to get back to some of what we saw in 2012 and 2013.
Odds of making the roster
Steph and Tracy (and I) fully expect him on the roster for the 2016 season. The big question is whether he will be the starting quarterback, or the backup. If Gabbert does win the job, I am particularly curious to see if the team keeps Kap active, or if they deactivate him with plans to eventually release him (or try and trade him again) in the spring. Kap could claim the starting job and play out his career with the 49ers, or he could lose out to Gabbert and eventually be jettisoned by the team. I think either option is entirely possible at this point.