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Blaine Gabbert the “heavy favorite” to start for 49ers

According to a report, Blaine Gabbert is leading the 49ers QB race, which shouldn't be a surprise considering that Colin Kaepernick has been recovering from shoulder injury.

Both were drafted in 2011. The guy taken in round two became a star, and the first-rounder a bust. Now, the roles are in the process of reversing.

Mike Silver of NFL Media reports that Blaine Gabbert is the “heavy favorite” to become the starting quarterback in San Francisco over Colin Kaepernick.

It’s not a surprise, for several reasons. First, Gabbert has been available to learn new coach Chip Kelly’s offense; Kaepernick hasn’t. Second, Gabbert apparently wants to be there. Kaepernick, based on his February trade demand and close-but-not-cigar deal to Denver, apparently doesn’t.

Then there’s Kaepernick’s $11.9 million fully-guaranteed base salary. The 49ers could still unload all (or most) of it by trading him. They also could avoid some of it by cutting him and hoping that someone else signs him.

Kelly became notorious for insisting on a full buy-in from his players in Philadelphia. But Kelly quickly learned that, unlike the college level where a guy can be put on ice for the duration of his career, NFL players have options, if they can get themselves released or traded. Assuming Kelly hasn’t dramatically changed his ways (why would he?), he surely is irritated by Kaepernick’s reluctance to embrace the new coaching staff. While Kelly likely doesn’t want other 49ers to know they can get a ticket out of town by acting like they want one, Kelly also likely doesn’t want Kaepernick around if Kaepernick doesn’t want to be around.

Still, whether the 49ers want Kaepernick has gotten lost amid the reality that Kaepernick doesn’t want the 49ers. It’s no surprise, then, that Gabbert is the quarterback in whom Kelly initially is placing his trust. The only real question becomes if or when (when) Kaepernick and the 49ers part ways.