It was reported Friday by NFL media Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers were nearing a restructured contract that would alleviate his full injury guarantee next spring, allowing San Francisco to play him without being on the hook for the quarterback’s $14.9 million base salary next spring if he sustained an injury.
But there was one significant hiccup in the deal potentially getting done. According to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, the deal “has not been signed or even reviewed yet by Kaepernick’s agents.”
So news leaked of Kaepernick’s pending contract restructure, whilethe 49ers are considering switching the embattled quarterback in for Blaine Gabbert next week against the Bills.
But Kaepernick’s agents haven’t reviewed the deal. That begs the question, how can the two sides be “closing in on a restructured contract” if Kaepernick’s agents haven’t even looked it over?
If the 49ers front office leaked this information, it would do nothing but lessen the chances of the deal actually getting done, particularly if Kaepernick’s agents haven’t even seen the deal.
Good organizations rarely – if ever – make negotiations public before they actually take place. That’s not negotiating in good faith.
Kaepernick could sit tight and refuse to restructure while Gabbert struggles. If Gabbert continues to be one of the worst starters in the NFL and the 49ers elect not play Kaepernick, they would clearly signal Kaepernick’s not in the plan beyond this season.
The 49ers could release Kaepernick at any time with his money coming off the books if and when he signs with a new team. San Francisco’s third-string quarterback is Christian Ponder, who has only worked with the scout team in practice after joining the team prior to the second preseason game.
It’s clear San Francisco needs to make a quarterback change. And a restructure makes plenty of sense for the organization and Kaepernick, if he wants a chance to become a free agent next spring. The 49ers shouldn’t put themselves in a position to pay Kaepernick if they don’t want him around in 2017.
But they should probably get the restructure done before telling reporters it’s close to happening.