A Cleveland Browns official said Monday that the team and the 49ers had “very preliminary” discussions about Colin Kaepernick, but that the team is now no longer pursuing the embattled quarterback — this news comes just two days after the Browns played host to a visiting Robert Griffin III. The official further said that the rumors of a possible Kaepernick trade sending him to the Browns was overblown by the media and highly unlikely to take place.
Sashi Brown, head of football operations for Cleveland, said the 49ers first contacted him about a potential trade, but the talks never became serious.
“So and so is reporting we’ve got into contract negotiations and draft-pick negotiations with San Francisco that just weren’t happening,” Brown told the Akron Beacon-Journal at the NFL owners meeting in Florida. “We were called about whether or not we’d have some interest and had some very preliminary discussions. And it didn’t go much further than that.
“All of those discussions were very preliminary, way over-reported, period,” Brown said. “But (we’re) not actively engaged with San Francisco and at this point don’t anticipate being actively engaged with San Francisco, but I know it’s that time of year when something can catch a headline.”
Multiple reports stated that Cleveland might be willing to part ways with their third-round pick (No. 65 overall), but also requested the 28-year-old restructure his contract and take a pay cut. ESPN claims that Kaepernick’s representatives, from XAM Sports, were the ones who rang the Browns about a possible trade, not the 49ers.
Both the 49ers and newly minted head coach Chip Kelly have said on more than one occasion they remain excited about the idea of staying together — last week byteclay.com reported that the team will not release Kaepernick before his $11.9 million base salary for the 2016 season becomes fully guaranteed on April 1. Kelly spoke candidly on Thursday while attending Stanford’s pro day, “I’d love to have him,” he said, adding, “I’m a big Kap fan.”
The 49ers will kick off their voluntary offseason training program on April 4, by which time Kaepernick is expected to be rehabilitated from surgeries on his shoulder, knee and thumb in 2015.
“He said he’s doing well,” Kelly said. “He’s back in Vail, still rehabbing. But he said he feels like he’s on track. He’s getting healthy and he’s excited. And that’s the biggest thing for him, just getting healthy.
“I talk to him. ‘If you’re here, we’re going to coach the heck out of you.’ And he was excited about that. I said I understand there’s a business side to this, and you guys deal with the business side. That’s why he has an agent, and that’s why we have a personnel department. They deal with all of that stuff.
“I deal with him as a football player, and he’s been great.”
David Barclay is an NFL Insider for byteclay.com. Email: email@example.com, Twitter: @DJamesIII