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Baalke downplays possibility of Kaepernick trade


After a couple of weeks of silence regarding what had become a presumption that the 49ers want to trade quarterback Colin Kaepernick, G.M. Trent Baalke says that a trade currently isn’t likely to happen.

“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 told Matt Maiocco of “We’re nowhere near getting anything done at this point.”

Baalke said that the 49ers have not received a trade offer for Kaepernick, who is under contract through 2020. Maiocco reports that the Broncos, Browns, and Jets have spoken to the 49ers about a possible trade.

“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.”

Baalke’s concession that Kaepernick’s agents were given permission to talk to other teams seems to contradict prior comments from owner Jed York regarding his belief that there was no reason to give permission because nothing as a practical matter prevents agents from talking to teams. With Baalke’s comments, the situation now has a more official, coordinated feel to it.

Maiocco asked Baalke why the 49ers would affirmatively allow Kaepernick to seek a trade if they plan to keep him around.

“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.”

Baalke’s comments hardly mean that Kaepernick will be on the team as of April 1, when his $11.9 million base salary for 2016 becomes fully guaranteed. The 49ers must decide whether to take the best offer they get on or before March 31, whether to simply cut Kaepernick, or whether to keep a guy who doesn’t want to be there -- and who quite possibly may feel no differently about that after his agents have a chance to find an offer that the 49ers deem to be acceptable.