49ers

Kaepernick officially opts out of 49ers' contract to become free agent

Kaepernick officially opts out of 49ers' contract to become free agent

INDIANAPOLIS – Quarterback Colin Kaepernick officially opted out of his contract to make him an unrestricted free agent, the club announced Friday afternoon.

The 49ers have no quarterbacks under contract for the 2017 season. Kaepernick was scheduled to make $14.9 million in salary and bonuses, which will now count as savings on the team's salary cap. The 49ers have approximately $90 million in cap room with the start of the new league year scheduled for March 9.

If Kaepernick had not opted out of his contract, the 49ers would have released him.

Kaepernick met last week with 49ers general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan at the team’s headquarters in Santa Clara to talk about how both sides will handle the offseason.

“There was a great understanding and I think we both agreed that under the current construct it wasn’t going to work out,” Lynch said this week. “But we said let’s not close the door.

“As he hits free agency that’s something that we’ll keep our eyes open, and we want him to keep us in mind as well. So it’s something that we left that door open in a very real and positive way.”

Kaepernick started 58 of the 49ers’ past 71 games since taking over as the team’s starting quarterback over Alex Smith during the 2012 season.

In Kaepernick’s first season as the starter, the 49ers advanced to the Super Bowl. Kaepernick posted a 98.3 passer rating in seven starts in 2012. In his first playoff start, he rushed for 181 yards against the Green Bay Packers.

Kaepernick’s best full season as a starter was 2013, when he threw a career-best 21 touchdown passes with eight interceptions for a 91.6 passer rating.

In 2016, Kaepernick replaced Blaine Gabbert as the starter after five games. He threw 16 touchdown passes with four interceptions and a 90.7 rating. He also rushed for 468 yards.

Kaepernick signed a six-year, $115 million extension in June 2014. In reality, he served three years and earned approximately $39.3 million on the contract. Kaepernick signed a contract restructure in October which gave him the freedom to opt out of his contract to void the remainder of his deal.

Kaepernick recently hired new agents Jeff Nalley and Sean Kiernan to represent him in future contract negotiations. Earlier this week, sources first told ESPN that he would no longer kneel during the playing of the national anthem as a way to protest racial inequality in the United States.

Controversial pass-interference call derails 49ers comeback

Controversial pass-interference call derails 49ers comeback

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers had momentum and field position on their side when Trent Taylor made a sprawling catch at the Los Angeles Rams' 39-yard line.

The 49ers, down by two points, were nearing field-goal range on the first play after the two-minute warning. But the momentum was quickly halted.

Taylor was called for offensive pass interference as he broke to the outside against the coverage of Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman. TV replays were inconclusive whether Taylor extended his right arm to push off.

“I ran the route the way it was called, the way that I always run it,” Taylor told NBC Sports Bay Area afer the game. “Felt good about it, and it was a great play call. But the ref’s decision on that, that’s nothing I can comment on. So I’ll just leave it as it is.”

The penalty set back the 49ers 10 yards. Brian Hoyer’s third-and-20 pass was incomplete, and he was sacked on fourth down to end any hope of a 49ers comeback victory.

“In that time of the game I would think you would let people play,” said Hoyer, prefacing his remarks with his intention to not say anything would warrant a fine.

“But I haven’t seen it. I have to go and watch the film. You know what, you don’t want to leave it up to the refs anyways. You hope you make a few plays earlier in the game to change the outcome. If it comes down to that, then that’s what it is. That’s what the guys job is to do.”

Taylor caught three passes for 32 yards, including his first NFL touchdown. He was also involved in another key play just moments earlier as the 49ers sought to tie the game. Hoyer’s two-point conversion pass attempt was tipped by Los Angeles cornerback Troy Hill and intercepted by defensive tackle Michael Brockers.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said Taylor was the third option on the play. Pierre Garçon and Marquise Goodwin were both well-covered on their inside-breaking routes. Taylor initially had separation against Hill, but that was a problem for the 49ers. The route called for Taylor to cut it back inside. Hoyer and Taylor teamed up for a touchdown on the exact same route on the other side earlier in the game against Hill.

“They got lucky and guessed the play,” Taylor said. “They were on it, so there was nothing we could do about it.”

49ers achieve rare feat done just 40 times since 1940

49ers achieve rare feat done just 40 times since 1940

This is how far the 49ers came in one evening: They played well enough to convince their fans that the officials screwed them.
 
I am not here to take a side on this. You play in a league with indecipherable rules, you take your chances with the officiating. Besides, if you want to avoid getting whistled out of a game, don’t give up 41 points.

Worse, don’t score 39 and lose. That’s happened only 40 times since 1940 out of nearly 15,000 games, so that’s an achievement in and of itself. 
 
But the complaining is a sign that, for the first time since 2013 perhaps, the 49ers mattered enough to their shrinking audience to haul out the old “Jeff Triplette did us dirty” meme. 
 
That is significant progress in a non-technical way, because as the shots of the stands have showed us, the modern 49er fan is more used to walking (as in out) than talking (as in smack). They are not by and large interested in the gestation period -- they want to see the baby.
 
And, rarely for the NFL, the 49ers’ greatest eras did not come with long rebuilds. They happened almost in a flash. Bill Walsh was 2-14 and 6-10 before the heavens opened in 1981. Jim Harbaugh went 13-3 after eight non-winning/stagnant seasons which didn’t come close to being an actual structured rebuild. 
 
In other words, around here, patience is for saps, the journey is not entertaining on its own, and progress is declared only upon arrival.
 
The real world, though, is different, and though everything about Thursday’s loss speaks to advancement here/regression there and has in no way a relationship to the 12-9 loss to Seattle a week ago, blind officials are a nice cheap way to pretend that there is. Nothing is more satisfying for a chronic loser than to say, “We would have won if those thieving bastards blah-blah-blah.”
 
It is also a dose of empty calories, but if you can’t have something nourishing, a bag of candy will do in a pinch.
 
In any event, the 49ers are 0-3, but good enough to moan that they can be unlucky or cruelly treated. It may not be progress inside the building, but it is outside, and judging by the sea of empty stadium seats, the 49ers need all that they can get.