Sakamoto: Why 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick Will Likely Be Retained In The Short-Term

San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick will be fully guaranteed $11.9 million if he is on the team’s roster after April 1, which is a scenario the 49ers envisioned all along. Let’s face it, the 49ers didn’t do much in free-agency to upgrade their roster aside from signing G Zane Beadles, which means they were prepared all along to absorb the cost of retaining Kaepernick.

However, that doesn’t mean that Kaepernick won’t be traded before the start of the 2016 season, as draft day could play a key role in making that a reality.

Five teams are in dire need of a quarterback including the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams, New York Jets, and Arizona Cardinals. Of those teams mentioned, I can’t foresee the 49ers trading within the division, so count out the Rams and Cardinals. That leaves the Cowboys, Eagles and Jets.

jared goff

The Cowboys could be in play but would likely have to give up their second or third-round pick, which I doubt will happen, as they seem to be content on drafting their next signal caller through the draft. Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg was given the wine and dine treatment before having a private workout with the team, while Cal’s QB Jared Goff and North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz will also receive similar treatment.

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On draft day, the 49ers and Cowboys have done business in the past, as the last blockbuster deal included the 49ers moving up to No. 18 to select FS Eric Reid while the Cowboys traded down to No. 31 to draft two-time Pro Bowl C Travis Frederick. But I don’t see the two sides striking a deal this time around, leaving the Eagles and Jets open for business.


The Eagles have been no strangers to working out quarterback prospects as Goff, Wentz, and Lynch have all been in play. And with former Governor of Pennsylvania vouching for Kaepernick services during the 2015 season, I wouldn’t rule out that scenario although again, not likely. That brings me to the Jets.

The Jets have yet to strike an extension with QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, who had a career season last year as he completed 59 percent of his passes all while throwing for 3,905 yards, 31 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Why the hold up is anyone’s guess, but WR Terrell Owens said that Fitzpatrick was one of the best quarterbacks he ever played with, so that’s saying something. If the Jets are unable to ink a long-term deal with the Harvard product, Kaepernick could be in play.


We all know about the reported Nessa, OLB Aldon Smith, and Kaepernick love triangle and playing in New York would be an ideal situation, not just for Kaepernick to get a fresh start, but for the Jets to also have a backup plan.

But what would be the asking price?

The Jets currently have a log-jam at defensive end as DE Leonard Williams, DE Sheldon Richardson, and DE Muhammad Wilkerson are all Pro Bowl caliber players, leaving me to believe that Wilkerson may be the odd man out.

Last off-season, the Jets actively shopped Wilkerson’s services, as the two sides were unable to strike a contract extension. Fast forward to today and the two sides again couldn’t come to an agreement which then forced the Jets’ hand to slap the franchise tag on their Pro Bowl defensive end.

If the Jets and 49ers can somehow iron out a Kaepernick for Wilkerson deal, that would do wonders from not only the team’s four-technique pass-rushing standpoint (that hasn’t been seen since DE Justin Smith retired), but for the 49ers to finally move on from Kaepernick, while letting him thrive somewhere else. A win-win for both sides.

Last season, Wilkerson racked up 64 tackles, 12.0 sacks and 7 pass breakups. What do you think, Forever Faithful? Would you be down for this trade or nah?

Ryan is the Founder/CEO of, 49ers Beat Writer, Live Game Day Correspondent for Bleacher Report and member of Pro Football Writers of America. Born and raised in San Jose, he also graduated from San Diego State University. His work has been featured on NFL Network, 95.7 The Game, National Football Post, Sports Illustrated, FanSided Network, ESPN Radio, CBS Sports 810, and NBC Bay Area News. For more information, please contact him via email at or call him at (408) 622-0996.