Editor's note: Matt Maiocco is in Florida for the NFL owners meetings. Watch SportsNet Central tonight at 6 & 10:30pm for comprehensive coverage.
BOCA RATON, Fla. – General manager Trent Baalke said Tuesday the 49ers gave quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s representatives permission to talk to other teams.
But the intention all along has been that Kaepernick would remain with the 49ers this season, Baalke said at the NFL owners meetings.
“I’ve had discussions with several teams and it’s gone no further than that, as the agents have had several discussions (with teams),” Baalke said. “We’re nowhere near getting anything done at this point.”
The 49ers have spoken with the Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos and New York Jets, according to sources. Baalke said the 49ers have not received a formal trade offer for Kaepernick.
“What we told them was that they were open to exploring options,” Baalke said. “But our intent was for him to be back and to go to work. . . He’s under contract and until that changes, our expectations don’t change.”
So why would the 49ers give permission for a player to talk to other teams if the intent was to retain him on their roster?
“Because I think sometimes it helps players work through anything they may have,” Baalke said. “It gives them a chance to see what their options really are. It also gives us a chance to say we didn’t hold you back from doing that.”
The 49ers’ offseason program is scheduled to begin on April 4, and Baalke said he anticipates Kaepernick will be in attendance.
Kaepernick is currently rehabbing from surgeries to his left shoulder, right thumb and left knee in Vail, Colorado. He visited the 49ers’ facility in Santa Clara on Friday for a checkup – not a full physical, according to the team.
Baalke said the organization gave Kaepernick’s representatives, agents Scott Smith and Jason Bernstein, permission to speak with other teams because of the “unique situation.” He said the 49ers will not give permission to every player who seeks to leave the organization.
“You have to look at all the change we’ve gone through,” Baalke said. “And sometimes that’s difficult on players, especially young players that have to go from system to system to system.
“I’ve never really asked them what their thought process is and why they’re making the decisions that they are, but by giving them the opportunity to explore other options doesn’t mean that you don’t want them. It gives them some reassurance, ‘If you feel there’s something better out there for you,’ at least give them the option to explore it.”
Coach Chip Kelly said last week his discussions with Kaepernick have been positive. Kelly intimated the notion that Kaepernick's agents are behind the discussion of seeking a trade.
When asked if Kaepernick has ever expressed his displeasure to Baalke, he answered, “I don’t’ think that’s ever been a real issue. I’m not going to get into whether it’s been agent-driven. There’s always a side to that. . . . For these young players, a lot of time there is influence from agents on what’s best for their client. Let’s face it, the last couple of years haven't been an easy run for any of us.”
Baalke has spoken to representatives of every team in the league over the past couple of days at the NFL owners meetings, but there has been no trade talk, he said.
Baalke said: “I’ve talked to 31 other teams about a variety of things, and none of which is newsworthy."