Colin Kaepernick

Baalke says Kaepernick is “not going anywhere,” which means Foles is probably on his way to 49ers

Jim Harbaugh Colin Kaepernick pregame

I was busy watching some DVR’d HBO programming, when an email from the 49ers popped up on my phone.

Statement from Trent Baalke on false reports regarding Colin Kaepernick,” read the subject line.

“Colin is our quarterback and we are excited to have him. He is not going anywhere. The media reports suggesting otherwise are without merit and quite frankly ridiculous.” – Trent Baalke, 49ers GM

Media reports?

Oh. OK. Pretty standard stuff as far as the 49ers go, really.

If you’re looking for a quick reading on the 49ers’ credibility gauge … I’m believing the report of someone I had never heard of before Sunday night, over the denials of a General Manager responsible for the personnel of a franchise worth a billion dollars.

Repeat after Baalke: “Are we ever transparent in what we do?”


So here I am, already looking at these rumors and thinking, “Yep. Sure. Why not? Baalke would LOOOOOVE to ditch Kaepernick and his eight-figure salary for Nick Foles, who’s set to make less than $2 million in 2015 and needs to ball out in his upcoming contract year. And the Bears? Well, they’re the Bears and they never have any idea what they’re doing, so a new quarterback couldn’t hurt anything.”

Kaepernick was Jim Harbaugh’s protege. He supported Harbaugh until the end (as detailed by Eric Branch). Also, Baalke was surprisingly candid when talking about Kaepernick’s offseason program in Arizona.

“The only reason you go down there and do the things he’s doing is to get better. That’s the mindset and I think he feels comfortable with where he’s at and hopefully that transfers to the field,” said Baalke, who noted that Kaepernick was looking to “take a little pace off of the ball when he needs to take some pace off of it.”

Harbaugh was an “I know he’s doing what he needs to, and I know it’ll transfer to the field” type of coach when it came to Kaepernick. Harbaugh didn’t do “hopefully.” He also never mentioned any of Kaepernick’s flaws, like throwing 70-mph passes at guys standing all alone, seven yards away.

Baalke shouldn’t be trashed for questioning Kaepernick. Far from it. I understand completely how a GM could watch last season and say, “Hmmm, this quarterback we’re paying over $10 million per season sure makes a lot of poor throws and decisions.” Not to mention how the quarterback position seemed to be an area — possibly the only area — where Harbaugh had more say than Baalke. But that has definitely changed, so why wouldn’t Baalke think about all that cap space and what he could do with it?

I’ve long thought there was at least a decent chance the 49ers would release Kaepernick before April 1. That’s why I asked Baalke whether Kaepernick would start Week 1 of the 2015 season (barring injury) after Jim Tomsula’s introductory press conference. Here’s Baalke’s response:

Once again, obviously Colin’s our starting quarterback. And I’m not going to get into specifics of every position. Colin Kaepernick’s the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers.”

This will probably shock you (you may want to sit down): Baalke was annoyed by my question.

Kaepernick was the starter at that time, and he still is now (depending on when you read this) … but after all that’s transpired since the 49ers lost the NFC Championship Game in Seattle, I’m guessing he’ll be with another team by Week 1 of the 2015 season. So while the headline above was written with a wink, it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if that’s exactly what transpired. We’ve learned over the past year that 49ers smoke means 49ers fire, and the 49ers have waved goodbye to Harbaugh loyalists (and Frank Gore saying stuff at the end of the season like, “When he was here, we won,” put him squarely in that camp) quite often over the last several weeks.

Why wouldn’t Baalke and Jed York want to get rid of Harbaugh’s most trusted agents? York cited football philosophy or some nonsense as the main reason for wanting to mutually part (ha). But he couldn’t stand Harbaugh — the 8-8 record and crappy offense meant it wasn’t a 100% no-brainer to keep him. Kaepernick won some playoff games and did some great things, but he also looked awful during segments of last season. And if Kaepernick goes into next season, everything he does (and says) is going to be compared to what he did (and said) under the previous head coach.

If you’re going to go non-Harbaugh, you might as well go full non-Harbaugh.

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