Colin Kaepernick trade rumors underscore a bigger issue

It’s safe to say at this point that when it comes to the San Francisco 49ers, the only thing that’s for sure is that nothing’s for sure.

Just when you thought life couldn’t get anymore tumultuous in Ninerland, a report surfaced that the team has placed Colin Kaepernick on the trading block.

General Manager Trent Baalke immediately went on the defensive, denying that there was any truth to the report and backing Kaepernick as the team’s starter.

“Colin is our quarterback and we are excited to have him,” said Baalke in a statement. “He is not going anywhere. The media reports suggesting otherwise are without merit and, quite frankly, ridiculous.”

Now if you follow the 49ers closely, you would probably come to a couple of conclusions here: 1) Never believe anything anyone in the front office says, and 2) Kaepernick played so poorly last year, this situation shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.

Now this isn’t to say that there is any merit to the report. After all, even if the team did want to rid themselves of Kaepernick, what other options are out there?

Brian Hoyer? He’s expected to sign with the Houston Texans. Nick Foles? I guess that name could hold SOME merit as the Philadelphia Eagles were rumored to be one of two teams interested (the Chicago Bears were the other). But why would the Eagles have given Mark Sanchez $5.5 million guaranteed if they were going to trade for Kaepernick?

So really, in all likelihood, this whole situation will go down as just another rumor in the ever spinning yarn that is the NFL offseason. However, this situation would have never come to fruition if Kaepernick had done enough to show that he’s the long term answer at quarterback in San Francisco. The truth of the matter is, he hasn’t, and his future with the team will be a hot button topic all season.

Kaepernick signed a six-year $126 million extension prior to last season, but in reality that contract is a series of one-year deals that allow the 49ers to cut bait with their quarterback if they choose to.

That means that Kaepernick is essentially singing for his supper every year, and last year’s performance left the team with some serious doubts.

The 49ers starting offense was abysmal for most of 2014, and only managed 29 touchdowns. It got worse as the season went on, as San Francisco was held to 17 points or less in seven of their last 10 games. 

Anyone who watched closely could see that a large reason for this ineffectiveness had to do with a quarterback who lacked pocket awareness and seemed to struggle seeing the field. The play of the offensive line didn’t help, but there were many situations were Kaepernick was too quick to break the pocket, rather than maneuvering within it.

Now Kaepernick is still in many ways learning the position, and there were so many issues and drama with the 49ers last season, some of the poor play could be attributed to outside factors. Moreover, Kaepernick doesn’t seem to be blind to his faults, and has enlisted the help of Kurt Warner in an effort to get his game straightened out.

But given this report and the dumpster fire that has been the 49ers lately, the microscope that was on Kaepernick to begin with is going to be 100 times larger come 2015. Every bad game will be dissected and questions about his future with team will be asked again and again.

It’s almost like the Jim Harbaugh situation all over again.

Given the storm that’s about to get unleashed on him, this upcoming season is going to answer many of the questions about Kaepernick. But what happens if the 49ers still have doubts about their quarterback when the dust settles on 2015? Where do they go from there?

I’m not sure anyone can give an answer to that at this point.

After all, it’s the 49ers.

Nothing’s for sure.

Photo: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images





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Al Sacco

Al Sacco is sports expert who knows football, baseball, basketball and hockey. He has spent his time as a sports journalist covering the San Francisco 49ers as a contributor to 49erswebzone.com and Ninerfans.com. He's been a guest on numerous podcasts and has had his work used on ESPN NFL Insiders and USA TODAY.


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