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Bye-Bye Bay-by?: Where Will Colin Kaepernick Play in 2016?

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 11: Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers calls out the play in the fourth quarter against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on October 11, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.The New York Giants defeated the San Francisco 49ers 30-27. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Trades for big name players are a rarity in the NFL, particularly for starting-caliber quarterbacks.  However, the status of Colin Kaepernick has been a headline this entire offseason, and there have been recent developments linking him to the Denver Broncos.  Will Kaepernick depart the Bay Area for the snow-covered Rockies and mountain air, or will he remain in San Francisco to form a dynamic duo with Chip Kelly?

Denver is in desperate need of a starting quarterback after their somewhat tumultuous offseason, and Kaepernick is the best option available.  Broncos GM, John Elway, expressed admiration for the signal caller this past August, “I’ve always liked Colin.  I think he’s very athletic, and he’s a guy that can make a lot of big plays. He’s doing more within the pocket, which I think will continue to help him. He’s a great athlete, and he’s got that big-play ability to avoid things and make things happen.”

The Broncos would obviously love to have Kapernick on their team and as of Sunday, were rumored to be very close to completing a deal.  However, Denver has less than $2 million in cap space and Kapernick’s salary for 2016 was just guaranteed, with a cap hit of $11.9 million.  Elway wants Kapernick to agree to a restructured deal or San Francisco to retain some salary.

As a result of these demands, trade talks have hit a stalemate as both San Francisco and Kaepernick are unwilling to restructure the deal.  Besides, the 49ers have already stated they will only move Kaepernick for the right deal and Kelly has expressed his interest in working together in 2016.

“I’ve had very good conversations with (Kaepernick) and I’d be excited to work with him, and that’s what I’ve told him,” Kelly said in March, “We want him. I really would love to work with him.”

While talks between San Francisco and Denver have stalled, they are not dead.  After a wildly disappointing season in 2015, the 49ers are in need of a rebuild and Kaepernick could fetch a solid return.  For the Broncos, if they hope to have any chance of defending their recently acquired Lombardi Trophy, they will need a viable quarterback option.  Mark Sanchez is not the guy.

With offseason workouts beginning for several teams, if there is any deal to be made, expect it to be made quickly.  Denver is in a tight spot and should not wait any longer to introduce a new quarterback into Gary Kubiak’s offense.  A trade will force the team to make more cuts than they would like to for cap reasons, but competing for Super Bowls means tough decisions will have to be made.

Where will Kaepernick play in 2016?  Stay tuned, as that question should be answered very soon.

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