The San Francisco 49ers offseason has been perhaps the most tumultuous in football, with a mass exodus of talent due to retirement, free agency and other factors. Franchise quarterback Colin Kaepernick wasn't one of those players, but it appears the groundwork could be being laid for a future divorce.
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Kaepernick May Be Dangled in Future
Sunday, June 14
Appearing on Yahoo Sports' Jason McIntyre Show, Bay Area columnist/reporter Tim Kawakami sent shots at the 49ers front office for "hanging people out to dry."
"This is what the 49ers do. They hang people out to dry," Kawakami said. "Every disparaging rumor about Jim Harbaugh turned out to be true. [SF has] a contract it can get out of it. Kap shouldn't have signed with that low a guarantee."
Kaepernick is heading into the first season of a six-year, $114 million contract. While it's widely reported that $61 million of that money is guaranteed, reality paints a far different picture. The 49ers could release or trade Kaepernick next offseason and save more than $9 million on their cap. Most of the money in the contract is in base salaries, which are not guaranteed.
The former Nevada star is unlikely to move before the 2015 campaign—he'd cost San Francisco more than $20 million in dead money—but Kawakami indicated the writing is on the wall.
"[Kap] was Harbaugh's guy. Now Jim's gone," Kawakami said. "You think Philadelphia wouldn't like him? I'm stunned SF didn't draft a QB."
Kaepernick threw for 3,369 yards and 19 touchdowns against 10 interceptions last season. He added a career-high 639 yards on the ground. Football Outsiders' DVOA metric, which measures players against a replacement-level player at their position, graded Kaepernick as the 29th-best quarterback in football.
Paying a massive premium for someone who was below replacement-level isn't an ideal solution. John Clayton of ESPN.com noted Kaepernick and the 49ers' recent downturn could wind up being a prelude to their divorce. With the way things are headed in San Francisco, it would not be a surprise to see these rumors carry over into the regular season and beyond.
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