SANTA CLARA -- Little has changed for the 49ers and quarterback Colin Kaepernick over the past seven weeks.
Kaepernick and his representatives remain free to talk to other teams after the 49ers gave them permission to seek a trade before the start of the new league year on March 9.
And Kaepernick has yet to reach an agreement with another team on what it would take to convince him to leave the 49ers and his $11.9 million guaranteed salary for the upcoming season.
On Thursday morning, just hours before the start of the NFL Draft, Kaepernick was on the field as the 49ers went through their third and final practice of Chip Kelly's first minicamp as the team's new head coach. Kaepernick has not been cleared to practice due to surgeries to his left shoulder, right thumb and left knee.
Kaepernick, who did not look as alarmingly thin as pictures that surfaced over the weekend on the internet, went through some of the motions of his drops and handoffs along with the other quarterbacks during warmups.
“Kap’s here. Kap is doing everything he can in the meeting room,” 49ers receiver Torrey Smith said. “Out on the field, you see him standing behind (the other quarterbacks), shadowing, trying to get mental reps. He’s doing everything he can, in his power, to get ready to play.”
General manager Trent Baalke said last week the 49ers intend to retain Kaepernick. But Baalke did not rule out the possibility that the 49ers could trade him.
There are a lot of moving parts that must fit together to enable a possible Kaepernick trade. Here is a look from the perspective of each of the parties:
Kaepernick’s camp: His representatives requested permission to seek a trade during a meeting at the NFL Scouting Combine with Baalke and chief negotiator Paraag Marathe. The 49ers granted that permission.
Kaepernick has a number of issues with the 49ers, beginning with a feeling that the organization did not keep the team together last year after he felt the $115 million contract extension he signed in 2014 allowed the organization to remain strong for years to come, according to sources. Kaepernick’s camp also thought some of the negative whispers last year was a calculated attempt from the organization to undermine him. Finally, Kaepernick and his camp had some major issues with how the 49ers’ medical staff diagnosed and handled his injuries last season, sources said.
Kaepernick is willing to take a pay cut to go to the Denver Broncos, CSN Bay Area’s Mindi Bach recently reported. But he is not willing to accept the Broncos’ proposal of $7 million base salaries for the next two seasons. Kaepernick and his representatives have declined a pay cut that amounts to $12.4 million over the next two seasons.
But Kaepernick might have to come down from his demand in order to reach a deal with the Broncos.
Denver Broncos: The Broncos are currently only $7.05 million under the salary cap, according to the NFLPA. That’s not enough space to fit Kaepernick’s $11.9 million scheduled base salary. But the Broncos do not intend to pay that money, anyway.
The Broncos want to get Kaepernick for the kind of backup money the Philadelphia Eagles signed Chase Daniel. In any case, the Broncos can come up with a structure to a new contract that makes it easy to fit his contract under the cap.
The only quarterbacks on the Broncos are Mark Sanchez and Trevor Siemian. Kaepernick would have to compete for the starting job, but he would be the clear favorite to beat out Sanchez.
Broncos general manager John Elway met twice with Kaepernick, who was rehabbing in Vail, Colorado, before he reported to the start of the 49ers’ offseason program on April 4. Elway might be serious about adding Kaepernick to his team, but he has yet to offer Kaepernick the kind of money it would convince him leave behind $11.9 million guaranteed this season from the 49ers.
The Broncos might have to raise their offer, and Kaepernick might have to lower his demand so the sides can find a middle ground.
49ers: A source has indicated all along that once the Broncos and Kaepernick reach an agreement, the trade goes through. The feeling is the 49ers and Broncos have a general agreement in place that hinges on the Broncos and Kaepernick reaching a new contract to replace the remaining years of the contract extension Kaepernick signed in 2014.
The 49ers could kick in some money, so Kaepernick does not have to take a pay cut. But the 49ers, as of this point, have no interest in paying any money to a player who is not going to play for them.
Right now, the 49ers seem content with the possibility of Blaine Gabbert as the team's starting quarterback. Of course, the 49ers enter the draft in the market for a quarterback.
So are the 49ers going to trade Kaepernick during the draft? They have not closed the door. The biggest development in a possible trade -- the agreement between the Broncos and Kaepernick -- is largely out of their control at this point.