A theory that hasn’t been floated out there regarding the trade situation involving Colin Kaepernick, the Broncos and 49ers…
It is very well documented, that in this wild offseason for the Denver Broncos, Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49’ers has been discussed as one of the key targets for Broncos GM John Elway. The primary reason, to date, that this trade has not taken place is the fact that Elway would like Kaepernick to reduce his base salary from $11.9 million, all the way down to $7 million. Kaepernick, who has this money guaranteed, has refused to take such a drastic pay cut, even if it means getting away from the 49’ers, and joining the reigning Super Bowl Champions. At this point, the 49’ers are refusing to pay the $4.9 difference that would allow this trade to go down. Or are they?
As Mark Dominik, of ESPN stated last week, he believes that the terms of the Kaepernick deal, contract and all, are already done.
In his claim, he states that this hinges on the 49’ers taking a quarterback in the upcoming draft next week. A fair amount of people, fans and media included, assumed that this trade may have died when the top 2 picks in the draft were traded, making it a foregone conclusion that the top 2 picks in the draft would be Carson Wentz, and Jared Goff, in no particular
order. The 49’ers had been linked to Cal product, Jared Goff, as some thought he would be available with the number 7 pick, and had met with coach Chip Kelly on three different occasions this offseason.
Refuting this notion was Mercury News sports columnist Tim Kawakami, suggesting that the Kaepernick trade is in no way affected by these recent trades, as the 49’ers never believed they were in the mix to land Goff anyways.
If this is the reality of the situation, then the 49’ers would presumably have their eye on a different quarterback in the draft as their replacement for Kaepernick. Might that player be, as Jon Gruden suggested, the former Michigan State, signal caller Connor Cook?
If Cook is indeed the 49’ers guy, I have a simple theory on how he becomes a San Francisco 49’er, and how Colin Kaepernick becomes a Denver Bronco. On various mocks, I have seen Cook slated anywhere from the mid-first round, all the way into the third round. It is unlikely the 49’ers would use the number 7 pick on a player that is thought of as the fourth best quarterback prospect in the draft, behind Wentz, Goff, and Memphis’ Paxton Lynch, especially when this team has so many other pressing needs. Keep in mind that the 49’ers were a 5-11 team last year, and the quarterback play was only a small part in that futile record, meaning this is a roster full of holes.
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With this said, a trade that could come to fruition come draft night, assuming Connor Cook is available with the 31st pick that the Broncos own. The trade would be San Francisco receives the number 31 pick in the draft from Denver and gains the ability to draft Connor Cook. In exchange for the 31st pick, the 49’ers send Colin Kapernick and the 49’ers second round selection at 37 to the Broncos, and in addition, the 49’ers pay the $4.9 million salary difference bringing Kaepernick down to the number that Elway would like him at, and Kaepernick receives his full salary. This means that to get Kaepernick at their price, the Broncos would have to move back 6 spots, and for the 49’ers, it allows them to get the quarterback they want, and it keeps them in the first round, meaning they have the 5th year option that they can give him, a valuable tool to keep their
franchise quarterback on a team-friendly deal for an additional year. This would all seem to be in line with what both Domenik, and Kawakami have referenced. This trade could already be agreed upon, and the only thing that Broncos Country needs to do is wait, and hope that no other team likes Cook in the first round. This is all, of course, just myself connecting a few dots, and there is nothing to suggest this is an actual deal out there. However, it makes sense on a lot of levels, and it certainly wouldn’t shock me to see it play out this way on draft night.