Aug. 16, 2011MAIOCCO ARCHIVE
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SANTA CLARA -- Based on his performance on the practice field the past two days, quarterback Alex Smith has widened his lead to be the 49ers' starter, coach Jim Harbaugh said Tuesday.Harbaugh has repeatedly stated that Smith is in the lead but he remains in competition with rookie Colin Kaepernick for the starting job. But after watching Smith practice on Monday and Tuesday, Harbaugh said the picture is coming into better focus.RELATED: 49ers camp report -- Smith hogs first-team reps
"There's some separation there," Harbaugh said. "Alex has done a fine job. But Kaep is doing a phenomenal job. He is going to be one heck of a talent and one heck of a player."
Harbaugh also emphasized that the 49ers are looking for a third quarterback behind Smith and Kaepernick. The club worked out Daunte Culpepper on Monday, but they have yet to sign him.MAIOCCO: How Culpepper would fit in with 49ers
The 49ers plan to look at some other available quarterbacks before making a decision, Harbaugh said.As for the possibility of Culpepper eventually signing with the 49ers, Harbaugh said, "I wouldn't rule that out."
General manager John Lynch confirmed during a radio interview that he and 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan met with quarterback Colin Kaepernick at his office Wednesday morning at the team headquarters in Santa Clara.
“I would characterize it as just a really positive discussion,” Lynch said during an appearance on KNBR, confirming a CSNBayArea.com report the sides met for the first time since Lynch and Shanahan were hired in their new roles.
Lynch said he and Shanahan have committed to being completely honest with Kaepernick, who can opt out of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent as early as next week.
Lynch did not divulge the topics of conversation. He said a commitment was also made to Kaepernick to not speak publicly about the specifics of their conversations.
“I do think that there are some things that are sacred,” Lynch said. “We did have a great discussion and I think Colin left excited and we left excited.
“And I think as Kyle and I believe, the evaluation process is still very much fluid. We’ve only been on the job a couple of weeks and I can tell you we both very much enjoyed being around Colin, and he seems like he’s in a real good place.”
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who faces an uncertain future with the 49ers, visited team headquarters in Santa Clara on Wednesday morning, according to a league source.
Kaepernick was likely there to meet with 49ers general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan for the first time since they were hired to replace Trent Baalke and Chip Kelly.
On Feb. 9, Lynch said Kaepernick “reached out” to him shortly after he was hired as general manager. Lynch said he and Kaepernick planned on meeting in the near future.
Earlier this week, Lynch said he would have open and honest communication with Kaepernick about the club’s plan at the quarterback position.
“The one thing we will do very well with Kap is we’ll communicate,” Lynch said Tuesday on 95.7 The Game. “And I think that’s very important for both sides. Like everything else, that process is well in the works. We’ll continue to do that and we’ll be very up-front with him, in terms of what we’re thinking and we’ll want to know what he’s thinking, as well.”
Kaepernick and the 49ers agreed to a restructured contract in October. The sides tore up the final four years of Kaepernick’s contract and replaced it with a deal that enables Kaepernick to opt out to become an unrestricted free agent in March. Kaepernick's non-guaranteed scheduled pay is $14.9 million for the 2017 season.
Kaepernick does not currently have agent representation, according to the NFL Players Association.
He started 11 games last season after replacing Blaine Gabbert in the starting lineup and bounced back with a solid statistical season. Kaepernick threw 16 touchdown passes and just four interceptions for a passer rating of 90.7. He also rushed for 468 yards and a career-best 6.8-yards per carry.