Although Kaepernick has met twice with Elway in the past two weeks, the quarterback has informed the Broncos that he will not accept a pay cut from his guaranteed $11.9 million salary for 2016, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported, via three sources involved in discussions.
Elway has known about Kaepernick’s stance for several days, per Rapoport. All recent negotiations have revolved around the possibility of San Francisco paying a portion of Kaepernick’s salary to facilitate a trade.
The 49ers are currently balking at that request, insisting they want Kaepernick to compete for the starting job this season. To that end, Kaepernick reported for start of San Francisco’s offseason program on Monday.
Translation: Trade talks are on indefinite hiatus while the leverage game plays out.
Until the Broncos draft or sign a viable alternative to Mark Sanchez, Niners general manager Trent Baalke and Kaepernick have little incentive to cave. Elway views Kaepernick as a borderline starter worthy of a fourth-round draft pick in trade compensation, Rapoport has reported. Baalke, meanwhile, wants a second-round pick in return for a quarterback who was once viewed as the franchise savior.
The stances of all three parties involved beg obvious questions:
If Elway envisions Kaepernick as an upgrade on Sanchez, why not pay his $11.9 salary — an eminently reasonable figure for an NFL starting quarterback in 2016?
If Baalke and new coach Chip Kelly are dead set on keeping Kaepernick, why have they allowed him to meet twice with Elway — including once at the general manager’s house?
If Kaepernick wants out of San Francisco desperately enough to request a trade, why not accept a 2016 pay cut with the potential to recoup so much more by resurrecting his career with the reigning Super Bowl champions?
A potential Kaepernick trade might not be dead, but it’s on life support leading up to the 2016 NFL Draft later this month.