As has been rumored for quite some time, Adam Schefter reports that Colin Kaepernick will become a free agent after he opts out of his 49ers contract later this offseason.
Kaepernick, 29, tried to get out of his contract last offseason as he was seeking a trade to the Broncos, but he and the 49ers came to an agreement to restructure his deal. When he officially opts out of his contract – March 2 – it will be his first venture into the free agent waters.
Kaepernick will join a quarterback market that could feature Kirk Cousins, Jay Cutler (who could end up in San Francisco), Tyrod Taylor, Jimmy Garoppolo (who is reportedly at the top of the Bears wish list) and A.J. McCarron.
While the market might seem crowded, the NFL is a quarterback-starved league, and Kaepernick was once a proven, highly-effective starter, having taken the 49ers to the Super Bowl XLVII and the NFC Championship game a year later. But at this point of his career, his floor appears to be that of serviceable back-up.
It’s unlikely Kaepernick re-captures the magic that made him a scoring threat because of a strong arm and mobility, unless he finds a fit with a team that can conceal his accuracy issues or maximize his strengths. Though, it is uncertain what team has that kind of an offensive guru on the coaching staff and the need for a quarterback.
Schefter mentioned the Bears, Jets, Texans, Bills, Browns and Broncos as teams with questions that need to be answered about the quarterback position, though he did not explicitly connect Kaepernick to any of those teams.
Even if the Bears do not pursue Kaepernick, his presence on the market changes the landscape slightly, both for their own efforts to find a quarterback, and also to shop Cutler.