As first reported by ESPN's Adam Caplan and Adam Schefter, Kaepernick signed a completely redone contract on Wednesday. CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora, who reported last week that the two sides were restructuring Kaepernick's deal, provided confirmation.
The last four years of Kaepernick's deal were erased, making his contract a one-year deal with a player option. He did not take a pay cut for this season.
Kaepernick can either extend his deal another season or void his contract after the year, which means he would become a free agent. The 49ers cannot franchise tag him after this season, according to the original report. Schefter then wrote on Twitter that if Kaepernick wants to stick around in San Francisco for the 2017 season, he'd earn a $14.5 million salary. However, none of that money would be guaranteed.
Kaepernick was scheduled to make $14.5 million in base salary next season, with a cap hit of almost $19.5 million if they released him. Those numbers are now off San Francisco's books, but his numbers this season stay the same.
So, essentially, Kaepernick will now have the ability to audition for the rest of the league. And if that audition goes well, he might land a sweet new contract with a new team. Meanwhile, the 49ers don't need to worry about Kaepernick getting hurt and owing him money because his injury guarantees have been voided, as La Canfora wrote on Twitter.
Kaepernick's first test will be a trip out to Buffalo to take on the 3-2 Bills. The last time we saw Kaepernick play in a meaningful game, he was going down with the rest of the Jim Tomsula-led trainwreck last season. Dealing with myriad injuries, Kaepernick was eventually benched for Blaine Gabbert, who hung onto the job through the summer and the first five games of the season. New coach Chip Kelly finally benched Gabbert earlier this week, which makes sense given Kaepernick features the most upside on the roster and Gabbert stinks.
So, the good news for Kaepernick is that he'll get a chance to revive his career. And if he does that, he can escape San Francisco. The bad news for Kaepernick is that he'll be leading a 1-4 team that is devoid of talent, which will make it difficult for him to succeed.