The Colin Kaepernick Soap Opera continues.
Contrary to reports that everything is luvey-duvey between the 49ers quarterback and new coach Chip Kelly, ESPN has reported that Kaepernick’s agents have requested permission to seek a trade.
Kaepernick was five yards away from leading the 49ers to a Super Bowl XLVII win, then guided the team to a 12-4 record and the NFC championship game in 2013. Since then, however, he’s 10-14 as a starter. He was benched after a 2-6 start in 2015 in which he threw six touchdown passes and five interceptions. Four of those picks came in a 47-7 loss at Arizona.
According to Spotrac, Kaepernick’s salary cap hit in 2016 is just under $16 million. That’s a reasonable price for a franchise quarterback, if Kaepernick can regain his franchise-quarterback form. Perhaps he could revive his career if he’s traded to the right place. Here are five possible trade partners.
The Browns have pretty much needed a quarterback since their rebirth as a franchise in 1999. They own the second overall pick in the draft and could use it on a quarterback. The draft hasn’t worked out too well for them as a quarterback resource, however. They probably wouldn’t have to give up the No. 2 pick in a deal for Colin Kaepernick.
Instead of again taking a chance in the draft, the Browns could decide to trade for a quarterback with a record of success at one point in his career. Then they could use the No. 2 pick on one of their many other needs.
The Jets’ first choice would be to re-sign Ryan Fitzpatrick, who threw 31 touchdown passes and nearly led them to the playoffs in 2015. But if they can’t come to terms or if the 49ers shop Colin Kaepernick those Kaepernick-to-Jets rumors could resurface.
The Texans are pretty set on defense. They ranked third overall, third against the pass and 10th against the run in 2015. Their offense, however, needs more talent at the skill positions.
Neither Brian Hoyer nor Brandon Weeden (one of the Browns’ many failed draft picks) will lead the Texans much farther than the first round of the playoffs. Colin Kaepernick would be a possible upgrade, and he’d have an elite receiver to work with in DeAndre Hopkins.
The Rams threw for 175.3 yards per game last season, dead last in the NFL. Their offense also ranked last in the league overall. The 49ers, by the way, ranked 31st.
Of these five possible trade partners the Rams are the only one with a quarterback under contract who is somewhat comparable to Colin Kaepernick. Both Kaepernick and Nick Foles were benched in 2015. The problem is Chip Kelly traded Foles away last year. So if Kaepernick goes to the Rams, the deal likely wouldn’t involve Foles. But Kelly is a wheeler and dealer so he’d probably listen to any offers.
Kaepernick still has some vestiges of star power and might be a more marketable face for the Rams franchise than Foles as it moves to Los Angeles.
If the Eagles lose Sam Bradford in free agency, new coach Doug Pederson could make a run at free agent Chase Daniel according to the Delaware News Journal. Pederson is familiar with Daniel. He was the Chiefs offensive coordinator for the last three seasons and Daniel has served as Alex Smith’s backup.
But Chase Daniel? Really?
The 49ers traded Smith to the Chiefs three years ago, basically choosing Colin Kaepernick over him. Like Kaepernick, Smith has some mobility. If Kaepernick does end up on the trade market, the Eagles might think about setting Pederson up with another mobile quarterback.