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Could Kaepernick be warming to idea of staying with 49ers? (Maybe not)

To no surprise, Colin Kaepernick will not reduce the $11.9 million salary that is fully guaranteed to him in 2016. With the Broncos only willing to pay him $7 million, his future remains uncertain.

Maybe there’s a method to the 49ers’ apparent madness.

At a time when many believe that San Francisco wants to move on from quarterback Colin Kaepernick (and that any comments to the contrary were aimed at preserving trade leverage), the decision to let him see what else is out there (or, as the case may be, what else is not out there) could be the key to getting him to buy in.

If it’s true that Kaepernick won’t give up any of his $11.9 million fully-guaranteed salary to get out of San Francisco, maybe he’ll ultimately realize that the team that is willing to pay him $4.9 million more than the Broncos are willing to pay is the better team to go all in with.

Or maybe Kaepernick still wants out, and maybe he realizes that doing the bare minimum and projecting something other than a rah-rah/yes-coach-whatever-you-want-coach attitude will get the 49ers and Chip Kelly to eventually cut him loose, with Kaepernick able to pick his next team and still guaranteed to get the full $11.9 million, with the 49ers paying the balance.

So the notion that Kaepernick won’t cut his pay to join the Broncos may be less about Kaepernick deciding to stay with the 49ers and more about Kaepernick making a very smart business move. Indeed, if the Broncos can get Kaepernick free and clear following a release by the 49ers, Kaepernick would still get his money, the Broncos wouldn’t have to give up a draft pick, and Kaepernick could negotiate a deal that doesn’t tie him up through 2020, like his current contract does.