Trade talks have gone cold over the past week and the 49ers appear prepared for quarterback Colin Kaepernick to remain with the organization to compete for the starting job.
“There’s a good chance he’s still on the team the way things look now,” a source told CSNBayArea.com early Thursday.
The source said the Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns or New York Jets -- teams currently without starting quarterbacks -- have not shown much urgency to acquire Kaepernick in a trade. The 49ers are holding tight in their trade demand, believed to be a second- or early third-round draft pick.
The source reiterated what general manager Trent Baalke stated last month at the NFL Scouting Combine: The 49ers will not release Kaepernick before April 1, when his $11.9 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed.
Baalke and coach Chip Kelly are both on the record as saying they expect Kaepernick to remain on the team and compete for the 49ers’ starting job against Blaine Gabbert, who replaced him last season after eight games.
Kelly certainly made no guarantees on Wednesday that Kaepernick would remain with the 49ers when he spoke briefly with the Sacramento Bee at San Jose State’s pro day.
“If he’s here on April 4, we’re going to coach the heck out of him and he’s going to work his ass off,” Kelly said.
If Kaepernick is not traded or released – an option the source said, “Won’t happen” – he plans to attend the 49ers’ offseason program, reported Cam Inman of the Mercury News, citing a league source.
Kaepernick could choose to stay away from the voluntary program in hopes it would lead to a trade or his release. In addition to his $11.9 million salary, Kaepernick is also scheduled to earn $400,000 for 90-percent participation in the 49ers’ nine-week offseason program.
Just hours after Kelly on Feb. 25 expressed his belief that Kaepernick was “excited” to return to the 49ers, Kaepernick’s representatives requested the 49ers give him permission to seek a trade. Last Thursday, the 49ers engaged in trade talks with the Broncos, Browns and Jets. But there has not been any movement in those discussions over the past week, according to sources.
Kaepernick is currently rehabbing from surgeries to his left shoulder, right thumb and left knee in Vail, Colorado. He is expected to visit the 49ers on Friday for a follow-up examination. Team officials are prohibited from speaking to him about football matters until the beginning of the offseason program.
Until April 1, Kaepernick’s $11.9 million salary is guaranteed for injury only. If Kaepernick were unable to pass a physical, the 49ers would not be allowed to release Kaepernick without a settlement.