I imagine this is not the most shocking of news, but Adam Schefter is reporting sources have told him San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is expected to opt out of his contract and become a free agent. Kaepernick has until late February to make the decision. If he opts out, the 49ers clear $16.9 million in cap space for 2017, and will carry $2,465,753 in dead money.
Kaepernick re-negotiated his deal last October, which removed the final four years and turned it into a two-year deal. It included an option that allowed him to opt out after 2016. The timing of the deadline comes after team’s deadline to use the franchise tag, which means once he opts out, the 49ers will be unable to place the franchise tag on him. Additionally, the team will not get a comp pick if he signs elsewhere.
The 49ers could still end up signing him back, but I would be surprised if that happens. Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch are meant to represent a reset of the football team. There are not a lot of great options out there, so it is possible the team decides he is the best remaining option they can sign as a bridge for a rookie, or to a 2018 free agent (maybe Kirk Cousins). However, given Shanahan’s time in the league, I have a hunch he would look elsewhere to find veteran help at the position.
Kyle Shanahan is expected to be introduced as head coach next week, and I imagine we will hear from both him and John Lynch at a press conference. It is safe to say they will get a question about Kaepernick. I suspect we will hear one or both of them talk about evaluating all of their options and not writing off any option that will help improve the team.