Don’t Expect Kaepernick to be a Bronco
Well, it was fun while it lasted. Imagining a world where ‘the great’ Colin Kaepernick was Denver’s starting quarterback next season and how sweet his fit would be in Gary Kubiak’s system has come to an end. Of course when we say ‘great’, we are talking about Colin Kaepernick from a couple of years ago when he lead the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and NFC Championship in 2013, right? Not the Kaepernick of last season where he was benched for (takes a deep breath) Blaine Gabbert? Glad we are on the same page now because Colin will not be the Broncos next QB (unless Elway gets desperate, of course).
“But wait?” you ask. “Isn’t there still a possibility of the 49ers cutting their tattooed QB before April 1st to avoid paying him $11.9 million guaranteed?” There was a time when this seemed like a possibility however, the NFLPA is expected to argue that the money is already his. Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com broke it down very succinctly. “Per a source with knowledge of the NFL Players Association’s position on the matter, the union would argue that cutting Kaepernick before April 1, if he’s still injured, results in the salary becoming fully guaranteed and unavoidable, absent whatever offset the 49ers would receive if/when Kaepernick signs with another team in 2016.” Basically, if the 49ers cut him before Friday, they will be on the hook for the entire amount anyway. If they trade him to the Broncos, Denver will have to pay him that contract and at the moment, they don’t have the cap room. Not to mention the fact that John Elway has been firm on the idea that he won’t give up the kind of draft stock that San Francisco wants for Kaepernick. None of this screams imminent that either side would hasten their approach.
— Schlereth & Evans (@StinkAndEvans) March 28, 2016
Florio goes on to talk about how Kaepernick could sign a 1-year deal with a new team, having the 49ers pay the difference between the $11.9 million and whatever he signs for. But why would San Francisco do this unless they absolutely needed to get him off the team? The fact is, unless Colin Kaepernick completes a physical by Friday to show he is not injured anymore, thus allowing the 49ers to cut him without paying him the guaranteed money, it’s looking more likely that he will remain in the bay area. Let’s put it this way: he won’t take a physical by Friday to prove he is healthy so that the 49ers or the Broncos can pay him less money. Who would?
If Kaepernick is off the table, where should the Broncos go to fill arguably the most important position on the team? QB Ryan Fitzpatrick still isn’t signed but he continues to be out of Denver’s price range too. The rest of the scrap heap of free agent QB’s don’t make much sense for the Broncos now. They will have to find their third QB for 2016 in the NFL Draft at the end of April. Before you push the panic button (a lot of Broncos fans already have), you should remember that Denver put up incredibly weak quarterback numbers last season and still won the Super Bowl. Do they want to improve those stats? Definitely. One way or another, the offense should function better. Whichever QB wins the competition in training camp will have to prove they can run things the way Kubiak wants. The group of Sanchez, Siemian and Rookie-to-be-named-later will compete to appease the coaching staff and inspire belief that things will be better on offense than last season.
Nobody, including the Broncos, knows who the starting quarterback will be for 2016. Competition will create opportunity. It’s really better this way, given the circumstances. We know now, though, that Colin Kapeernick shouldn’t be expected to be an option for Denver.
TOP PHOTO CREDIT: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
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