Newly minted 49ers head coach Chip Kelly and organization figureheads will meet with representatives of Colin Kaepernick’s camp at this week’s NFL scouting combines in Indianapolis, according to multiple reports.
The combine begins Tuesday, and nearly every NFL head coach, general manager, scout and player agent will be on hand for the festivities.
The 49ers are faced with making a decision regarding the future of the embattled 28-year-old quarterback — whether or not to cut him, or keep him on the roster. Should Kaepernick remain on the 49ers roster as of April 1, the $11.9 million base of his 2016 salary becomes fully guaranteed. The decision has been amplified with the fact Kaepernick is coming off the worst statistical season of his short, yet somewhat fruitful career. He was benched after eight games in favor of backup Blaine Gabbert, a benching which likely contributed to Kaepernick’s eroding trust and faith in the organization.
This narrative was played further after reports surfaced stating Kaepernick wanted out of San Francisco, and expressed interest in joining the New York Jets. Those rumors have since been somewhat refuted.
He has also undergone three surgeries since November — a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder required operation, his left knee needed draining and the thumb in his throwing hand rounded off the trifecta of procedures. The cast on his thumb has since been removed, and Kaepernick was recently spotted at a charity event sans the splint on his shoulder. Kaepernick opted to have all three procedures performed by a private physician—not the 49ers team doctor—at the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colo, and has been undergoing his rehab program in the same place, far from the team facilities at Levi’s Stadium.
It’s become clear trust will need to be regained on both sides — Kelly will need to approach Kaepernick about the Jets rumors, and his decision to stay away from the team during the offseason. During his introductory press conference, Kelly appeared standoffish when asked about the future of Kaepernick, repeatedly deflecting to what he saw in the play of Gabbert. If San Francisco decides to part ways with the once-proclaimed phenom and future face of the franchise, he must be certain Gabbert is the answer.
Outsiders have made note and speculated rampantly that if anyone can reinvent Kaepernick’s game, Kelly is the man to do it. His offense, paired with Kaepernick’s skills as a dual-threat quarterback were described by rival defenseive coordinators as an offense which would be, “straight ‘Freddy Krueger.'”
“The fact that Kap can make guys miss and get in the open field, they didn’t have that last year at all in Philly,” another defensive coordinator said. “We treated [Sam] Bradford like he was under center. There was zero threat of him running the ball. We told our guys, ‘Don’t treat him like he’s in the shotgun, he’s never gonna pull the ball.’ “
David Barclay is the 49ers Insider for byteclay.com. E-mail: email@example.com Twitter: @DJamesIII