The San Francisco 49ers, depending on which reports you believe, may or may not have a quarterback who has previously shown starting ability on the trading block in Colin Kaepernick. According to a report from the San Francisco Chronicle, Broncos GM John Elway met with Kaepernick this Thursday, and not for the first time.
Kaepernick ... met with Broncos general manager John Elway at Elway’s house in the Denver area on Thursday, a source said. Kaepernick and Elway have met at least twice since March 15. Kaepernick has spent his offseason rehabbing three injuries in Vail, Colo., which is about 100 miles from Denver.
Their meeting on Thursday occurred on the same day Kaepernick’s $11.9 million base salary became guaranteed, a development which erased the unlikely possibility the 49ers would release him. The 49ers have granted Kaepernick’s agents permission to seek a trade.
The Broncos have reportedly been interested in Kaepernick throughout the offseason, and the 49ers have also reportedly been willing to deal him. The sticking point has been the price in a prospective trade, with the Broncos reportedly willing to surrender nothing more than a fourth-round pick and the 49ers wanting at least a third and possibly a second depending on where the picks fall within the round. (GM Trent Baalke recently said they'll keep Kaepernick unless they're "blown away" by an offer, though that did seem like rather obvious posturing to drive up the price now that there is reportedly only one team -- the Broncos -- interested in Kap's services.)
Another issue complicating a potential deal is that all $11.9 million of Kaepernick's base salary for 2016 became guaranteed this week. That's why Denver reportedly wants him to take a $4 million pay cut if the Broncos and 49ers wind up agreeing to a trade. The Broncos are currently just north of $1.9 million under the salary cap, per Spotrac, so even fitting a base salary of $7.9 million on their books will require a bit of maneuvering.
They can create some space by restructuring the contracts of Ryan Clady and/or Aqib Talib, converting some or all of their 2016 base salaries into signing bonuses. They can also cut ties with Clady altogether, a move that would shave $8.9 million off their 2016 cap figure, now that they've signed Russell Okung to play left tackle.
Another possibility is agreeing to a long-term deal with Von Miller, who is currently set to play 2016 under the franchise tag and count against the cap for just over $14.1 million. If they come to a long-term agreement, the Broncos can give him a large signing bonus and defer his base salary to later years, thereby lowering his cap hit and creating more room to bring in other players like Kaepernick.