San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke has been flooded with questions surrounding the future of his embattled, former franchise quarterback, Colin Kaepernick — Wednesday, he had a simple answer when asked if the 27-year-old would remain on the roster past April 1, when his base salary of $11.9 million for the 2016 season becomes fully guaranteed.
“Yeah,” Baalke said in Indianapolis, where he is attending the NFL Scouting Combine. “I don’t where all the information coming out – who it’s coming from, because it’s not coming from myself or anyone else in the organization. The No. 1 focus is on getting him healthy. And Chip’s excited to work with him just as he’s excited to work with all these guys.”
As previously reported by byteclay.com, Kaepernick’s representatives are expected to meet with 49ers team brass this week at the combine. Baalke said he will not partake in these discussions. He added there is no agenda on the team’s end when it comes to talking with Kaepernick’s agents — several had speculated the team might consider keeping the quarterback around if he renegotiated his already team-friendly deal. Others have said newly minted head coach Chip Kelly might not envision Kaepernick as a part of his offense, and perhaps would lobby for the trade of the quarterback.
The scouting combine has become a sore topic for some 49ers’ fans — it’s where the team traded former No. 1 overall pick Alex Smith three years ago. Baalke was asked if the team might be leveraging Kaepernick in a trade at this year’s combine.
“Guys, you keep going back to the same old s—,” he said. “The bottom line is that all these guys … are under contract. The expectation is to move forward with them. I can’t predict tomorrow with any of them. The expectation is that (Kaepernick’s) on our roster. I’ve said that multiple times. And I know that the coaching (staff) is looking forward to getting to work with these guys.”
Baalke said Kaepernick won’t be handed the starting role, he’ll have to work for it like any other player, and the possibility of paying a player $12 million as a backup isn’t unprecedented.
“It wouldn’t be the first time in history,” Baalke said. “Once again, you’re creating a lot of speculation over nothing. Let’s let these guys in here and let them go to work.”
Throughout the season, Kaepernick was the subject of several reports, all of which came from anonymous sources, which irked him the wrong way. When word broke that some of the leaks were coming from inside of the organization, he might have lost all trust in the franchise. For example, all three of Kaepernick’s surgeries were performed by private doctors at the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colo — he has opted to stay away from the team facilities during his rehab process, remaining in Vail for the duration. Baalke said whatever reports which have surfaced saying Kaepernick was or is unhappy with the franchise are outside the scope of his knowledge, the last time the two sides spoke, everything was fine, Baalke said.
“The last time we talked to Colin, Colin was excited,” Baalke said. “So we’re going into the offseason program with a new coaching staff, very little familiarity with the guys on our team, and these guys are excited to get their hands on these (players) and go to work.”
David Barclay is the 49ers Insider for byteclay.com. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @DJamesIII