The San Francisco 49ers and Colin Kaepernick face an important decision in the next two weeks. The quarterback has the option to opt out of the remaining year of his contract and become a free agent, and has to finalize his decision between March 2 and March 7.
CSN Bay Area reporter Matt Maiocco is reporting that Kaepernick visited the team’s facility on Wednesday. Any player under contract to the team can use the facilities as they see fit, but as Maiocco pointed out, Kaepernick was likely meeting with general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan. Lynch said at the team’s introductory press conference that Kaepernick had reached out to him shortly after being hired by the 49ers. Lynch and Shanahan both said they would communicate with Kaepernick and evaluate him along with the other players on the roster.
There are a few ways this could play out. Kaepernick could opt out and either figure out a new deal with the 49ers, or go somewhere else in free agency. Kaepernick could choose not to opt out, but the 49ers could decide he is not a part of their future and release him without any future guarantees to deal with.
Another option that has not been discussed much is the potential to re-work his deal for the short term. Kaepernick is due a $14.5 million base salary, with $2 million in roster bonuses and a $400,000 workout bonus. If Kaepernick does not want to take a pay cut, the 49ers could cut him (or he opts out) and that would be that. But, if Kaepernick and Shanahan think they can make something work, maybe he ends up willing to make an adjustment, either with a signing bonus and another option year, or something else entirely. I’m skeptical he would take less from the 49ers for a one-year prove-it type of deal, but anything seems possible at this point.
My guess is he opts out and that’s it for his time with the 49ers, but maybe we get a surprise result.