Report: 49ers, Kaepernick closing in on restructured contract

Report: 49ers, Kaepernick closing in on restructured contract

The 49ers and quarterback Colin Kaepernick are reportedly working on a restructured contract designed to alleviate concerns for both sides.

The NFL Network reported on Friday the 49ers and Kaepernick are “closing in” on a contract. The deal could eliminate the huge financial concerns for the 49ers in the event Kaepernick sustains a severe injury. It would also give him the freedom to leave the 49ers after this season.

A source told CSNBayArea.com that there is work to be done before the sides agree on a deal that would erase the injury guarantee from Kaepernick's contract and potentially make him a free agent in the spring.

Under terms of the original contract, the 49ers would be liable for Kaepernick’s entire $14.5 million base salary for 2017 if he sustains an injury and is unable to pass a physical on April 1, 2017.

In return, the 49ers would be expected to void the final four years of Kaepernick’s contract, making him an unrestricted free agent and eligible to sign with any team upon the opening of the new league year in March 2017.

Kaepernick signed his six-year, $115 million extension in June 2014, following his first full season as the team’s starter.

Coach Chip Kelly on Thursday and Friday said general manager Trent Baalke has no influence into coaching staff’s decisions on how players are used. Kelly said Kaepernick’s contract status has not been a reason he has remained as the team's backup quarterback.

“I played him in the first game,” Kelly said of Kaepernick. “Right? So that answers that question.”

Kaepernick has suited up as the 49ers’ No. 2 quarterback behind Blaine Gabbert for each of the 49ers’ first five games. Kaepernick played three snaps in the season-opening game against the Los Angeles Rams. He did not attempt a pass.

Kaepernick and his representation requested permission to seek a trade from the 49ers in the offseason. The 49ers granted permission. The 49ers and the Denver Broncos appeared to have a deal in place, contingent on Kaepernick and the Broncos working out a new contract.

The Broncos offered Kaepernick a deal for 2016 that was worth $7 million in base salary, according to sources. But Kaepernick, who was already guaranteed $11.9 million from the 49ers, due to an injury guarantee, did not accept the pay cut. The 49ers declined to make up the difference.

Kaepernick could be in the mix to return as the team's starting lineup despite Kelly saying that Gabbert has outperformed him in practices.

Kelly said he has not yet held discussions with the coaching staff about the team’s plan at quarterback for the 49ers’ next game, Sunday, Oct. 16, against the Buffalo Bills. The players are off until Tuesday after a poor showing in the 49ers’ 33-21 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday night.

Gabbert ranks among the bottom in nearly every statistical category. The 49ers average a league-worst 170 yards passing per game. Gabbert has completed 58 percent of his pass attempts with five touchdowns and six interceptions and a lowly 69.9 passer rating.

Kelly has cited Kaepernick's loss of weight and strength as reasons he has not been the same player he was in 2013. Kaepernick underwent surgeries on his shoulder, knee and thumb and lost considerable weight in the offseason. Kelly estimated that Kaepernick is approximately 10 pounds under his target weight of 225 pounds.

Jordan Matthews may be the answer to 49ers' red zone problems


Jordan Matthews may be the answer to 49ers' red zone problems

Newly-signed wide receiver Jordan Matthews could be the red-zone threat that the 49ers have desperately needed.

In 2018, the 49ers were worst in the NFL in red zone efficiency in terms of scoring touchdowns. They only managed to hit pay dirt from inside the 20-yard line 41.18 percent of the time. For perspective, the Steelers topped the list, scoring a touchdown 73.47 percent of their trips in the red zone. 

The 49ers weren’t much better in 2017. They scored a touchdown 47.06 percent of the times they visited the red zone which ranked them 27th in the league. 

Matthews might just be the answer to the 49ers' problem. Of his 22 career touchdowns, 16 have been from the red zone. What is noticeable when looking all of his scoring plays is how easy he makes it look.

One argument for Matthews’ red zone production could be scheme, but he’s been productive in both Chip Kelly and Doug Pederson’s offenses. Matthews is also an equal opportunity receiver, as he has caught touchdown passes from Carson Wentz, Nick Foles, Tyrod Taylor, Sam Bradford, and Mark Sanchez. 

Obviously credit needs to be given the above listed quarterbacks for making the throws, but Matthews has some traits that make him effective in a shortened field. 

He gets open

When Matthews runs a route, he knows how to position himself so he stays in front of the defender. While sometimes it involves a little boxing out and contact, most of the time it’s as simple as out-maneuvering his body so he is an open target. 

Example: Week 13, 2018
Philadelphia vs. Washington

Matthews runs a simple dig route along the goal line and keeps himself between the defender and the quarterback. Wentz throws a quick four-yard pass on what looks like his first read for an easy touchdown.  

He’s fast enough to beat a defender

Matthews has the ability to use his body, but also has enough speed to flat out get open. Matthews ran a 4.46 40-yard dash and being 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, it’s likely that opponents forget about his speed. 

Example: Week 4, 2017
Buffalo vs. Atlanta 

Midway through the second quarter Matthews runs a nine-yard slant from the right to the left. He gets so far in front of the defender that Taylor has an easy throw for the touchdown. 

He can grab a jump ball

Matthews is a big bodied receiver, more so than anyone else in the receivers room. His size alone will gives him an advantage in jump ball situations. 

Example: Week 3, 2014
Philadelphia vs. Washington

Just before the half ended, Matthews ran a go route to the back of the end zone. He was double covered but got up above the defenders enough to grab Foles' 11-yard pass for the touchdown.

[RELATED: Matthews a lifelong 49ers fan]

He is difficult for defensive backs to read and follow 

Example Week 2, 2015 
Philadelphia vs. Washington

Matthews runs an out route on the goal line with less than three minutes left in the game. Before he changes direction in front of the defender, he makes slight contact enough to delay their motion, allowing him to get in front for the completion and touchdown. 

Matthews ability to change direction quickly might be his most impressive and valuable quality. Many of his touchdowns were when he nearly ran straight into a defender before turning in his route. It doesn’t give the defensive back time to react before the ball is thrown his way.

Matthews has quite a few tricks in his repertoire and coach Kyle Shanahan will be taking advantage of each of them on the field.

NFL draft prospect Josh Allen has visits scheduled with 49ers, Raiders

NFL draft prospect Josh Allen has visits scheduled with 49ers, Raiders

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky outside linebacker Josh Allen will get familiar with the Bay Area during the NFL's pre-draft process.

Allen, the national defensive player of the year after recording 17 sacks as a senior, told NBC Sports Bay Area on Friday he has visits scheduled to meet with the 49ers and Raiders. He will also visit the New York Giants, New York Jets and Detroit Lions prior to the April 25 draft, he said.

Allen should not have to wait too long to hear his name called on draft day. Both the 49ers, at No. 2 overall, and the Raiders, at No. 4, are possibilities to select him. Area scout Steve Rubio represented the 49ers at Kentucky's pro day.

On Thursday, Allen had dinner with the Raiders, including general manager Mike Mayock and senior defensive assistant Jim O'Neil.

“It was good, just a casual meeting. We basically talked about life. He’s awesome, a cool person," Allen said of Mayock. "He's a football person and a business person. It was fun."

Matt Maiocco

O’Neil, who works with defensive backs, had plenty of players to scout on Friday. Kentucky has five defensive backs who might end up getting drafted.

Cornerback Lonnie Johnson and safety Mike Edwards could be Day 2 picks. Cornerback Derrick Baity Jr. and safety Darius West were also invited to the NFL Scouting Combine and could be Day 3 selections.

Another Kentucky defensive back, cornerback Chris Westry, had an impressive showing with a 40-yard dash time clocked in the 4:31-4.33 range. Westry, who stands 6 foot 4 ½, also had a vertical jump of 38 inches.

“Westry was the only DB not invited to the combine and he lights it up here today,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said. “That was really good for him. The other guys did a great job at the combine. He’ll have time to make that up with his measurables, how tall he is and how he runs. He’ll have plenty of time to make that ground up.”

Allen did not work out on Friday, opting to stand on the marks he recorded last month in Indianapolis. Allen was measured on Friday in the Kentucky weight room before the on-field workouts. His hand measured at 8 ¾ inches, while his arm is 32 7/8 inches with a wingspan of 81 ¾ inches.

Allen was a consensus All-American and the SEC Defensive Player of the Year. He did not miss a game in his four-year college career.

[RELATED: Why Allen couldn't lie to Ronnie Lott meeting 49ers]

“Any time you’re looking at that high of a pick, people are looking at something to pick on. They’re going to see if there are any flaws,” Stoops said. “And I think you can ask anybody in this community, anybody in this organization and anybody in town that’s been around Josh, he’s the same. It's important to him.

“He’s a great player. If you like what you see on the football field, you’re going to love what you see in the locker room and what kind of person he is.”