The San Francisco 49ers need a quarterback. Colin Kaepernick needs a place to play. So it would make sense for the two sides to at least hear each other out.
Kaepernick met with new 49ers general manager John Lynch and new coach Kyle Shanahan, according to CSN Bay Area. While it has been expected that Kaepernick will opt out of his contract (or the 49ers cut him), the meeting at least indicates there’s some chance Kaepernick returns.
Lynch kept that door open when he talked to KNBR about the meeting.
“We did have a great discussion and I think Colin left excited and we left excited,” Lynch said. “And I think as Kyle and I believe, the evaluation process is still very much fluid. We’ve only been on the job a couple of weeks and I can tell you we both very much enjoyed being around Colin, and he seems like he’s in a real good place.”
Lynch said he wouldn’t discuss specifics and said the team asked Kaepernick to not share details either. So we’re left to guess. If the relationship was dead, the 49ers and Kaepernick wouldn’t waste time meeting. It’s a good bet that a pay cut was brought up. The 49ers presumably don’t want to pay Kaepernick $14.5 million in base salary after some inconsistent seasons. There’s also no guarantee Kaepernick makes close to that much money anywhere else. It would also be curious to see if Kaepernick’s national anthem protest of last season affects his market. It might be in Kaepernick’s best interest to stay with San Francisco, even at a reduced salary.
The 49ers’ options at quarterback aren’t great. The draft class doesn’t have a can’t-miss prospect, though the team holds the No. 2 pick. There are some competent free-agent possibilities, though nobody who would project as a future franchise quarterback for a rebuilding team. There has been plenty of speculation that the 49ers want Kirk Cousins, but that will depend on the Washington Redskins’ franchise-tag decision with their quarterback. After Kaepernick the top two quarterbacks on San Francisco’s roster are Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder, and that’s not enticing.
While it seemed for a long time that Kaepernick and the 49ers would be parting ways – and it’s probably still a good bet that will be the ultimate outcome – maybe a new regime sees some value in giving Kaepernick another season.
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