Colin Kaepernick will be the quarterback for the Denver Broncos next season if the two sides can overcome one huge hurdle — his contract.
Both Peter King of MMQB and Adam Schefter of ESPN are reporting that the 49ers are set to trade Kaepernick to the Broncos — for a mid-round draft pick, according to Schefter — but only if the quarterback is willing to accept pay cut.
Kaepernick is about to enter the third year of his 6-year, $126 million contract, which is really just a year-to-year deal. He is set to make $11.9 million this season and would take up $15.9 million in salary-cap space.
“The Broncos don’t want to pay him anywhere close to that right now,” Schefter said on ESPN Radio. “The two sides are trying to see if there is some type of agreement they can come to to come up with a restructured contract. If they can get that contract worked out, Colin Kaepernick will be a Denver Bronco.”
King echoed this sentiment:
As one person close to these incendiary discussions told me Sunday night, the ball is in Kaepernick’s court. If he wants to be traded to Denver, he’ll have to take a significant pay cut from his $11.9-million compensation this year to do so.
King speculates that Kaepernick is having to decide between making $11.9 million with the 49ers or possibly something closer to $6.0 million with the Broncos.
At this point, it appears that the deal is going to get done. Kaepernick has already met with Broncos general manager John Elway, twice, according to Peter King, with one being at Elway’s house. If the 49ers had any plans of keeping Kaepernick, that meeting never happens, and it definitely doesn’t happen twice.
That Kaepernick is even willing to entertain the possibility of being traded to the Broncos and take a pay cut shows just how much he wants out of San Francisco despite the arrival of head coach Chip Kelly. Now he just needs to decide how much he is willing to pay to make it happen.