And just like that, the Colin Kaepernick to the Denver Broncos talk is back on.
According to Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle, the current quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers and executive vice president/general manager of the Broncos met on Thursday in Denver at Elway's home.
According to Branch, this is at least the second time Kaepernick and Elway have met since March 15. Kaepernick has been doing rehab for his three injuries in Vail. As Branch said, it's not known if Kaepernick will be medically cleared to participate in the start of the offseason program in San Francisco. He has undergone surgeries to his shoulder, thumb and knee since late November.
What Kaepernick and Elway discussed was, obviously, not released. But it's not far-fetched to speculate Elway wants to gauge the seriousness and salary expectations of Kaepernick.
As Branch said in his story, the Broncos have reportedly been working on restructuring Kaepernick's contract, which calls for him to earn a total of $14.3 million in 2016. He added that Denver has just $1.62 million in salary cap space, and would need to clear cap room before any trade for Kaepernick could happen.
It was reported this week that the Broncos want Kaepernick to take a reduction in salary to $7 million for 2016. That's two-fold: It's a "prove it" deal for Kaepernick and gives Denver needed cap space for this season.
If Kaepernick pans out as both parties would expect, he would get paid a higher salary in the 2017 season, and the Broncos would have the cap space to do so. What also will help Denver's current cap situation is to release left tackle Ryan Clady. Doing so will free up $8.9 million in cap space, according to overthecap.com.
However, Branch mentioned that Clady could be involved in a deal between Denver and San Francisco.
The 49ers have left tackle Joe Staley, 31, a five-time Pro Bowler, but question marks at right tackle. Anthony Davis has said repeatedly on social media that he will return this season after taking a one-year sabbatical in 2015 to address health issues. In late February, ESPN reported Davis was formally set to apply for reinstatement. On Friday, however, the right tackle said, via Twitter, that he will apply for reinstatement "later this year," adding that dealing with general manager Trent Baalke was giving him a "headache." Given that, it’s unlikely Davis will be present Monday when the 49ers begin their offseason program.
The two sides would still need to workout the details of any deal, be it draft picks and/or players. It's been reported the Broncos have a fourth-round value on Kaepernick, though they don't have a fourth-round pick in this year's draft. That could mean Denver sends a draft pick in 2017 to the 49ers.
At the very least, the Thursday meeting shows mutual interest and that a deal could be close. If it's not, as San Jose Mercury News columnist Tim Kawakami tweeted, why would the 49ers allow a meeting between the two to happen? And with a player San Francisco allegedly wants to keep?
As Vic Lombardi said on Twitter: "Not if, but when. Gonna happen," with relation to Kaepernick coming to the Broncos.
49ers mgmt insists they want Kaepernick on their 2016 roster... and yet just allowed him to meet with Denver's top exec. Ohh kay.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) April 2, 2016
When it does, imagine that - a GM meets with a quarterback he doesn't know and hasn't worked with prior to any signing.
Elway has remained patient throughout this entire process, but he said Denver wasn't finished after the addition of Mark Sanchez. That was just the first step in the process for his organization to find a quarterback.
It appears the next step is what has been rumored all along.