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Kaepernick should show up Monday and force the 49ers’ hand

Super Bowl XLVII Media Day

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 29: Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers answers questions from the media during Super Bowl XLVII Media Day ahead of Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 29, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The 49ers will take on the Baltimore Ravens on February 3, 2013 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

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With the 49ers’ offseason program opening on Monday, the overriding question is whether quarterback Colin Kaepernick will show up. Regardless of whether he will, he should. And here’s why.

The 49ers, by giving Kaepernick permission to seek a trade, presumably don’t truly want him. Which means that they’ll eventually cut him. Which means that the 49ers will pay the difference between whatever he gets elsewhere for 2016 and his fully-guaranteed $11.9 million salary.

If that’s the real plan (thinly concealed through the obvious, predictable, sound-bite B.S. that so many teams spew in situations like this), the 49ers run the risk of the $11.9 million becoming fully guaranteed -- with no offset. If Kaepernick suffers a season-ending injury during the offseason program, they’ll be on the hook for the $11.9 million, and no one else will be signing him to reduce the obligation by a penny.

So Kaepernick should show up, with proverbial bells (and maybe a Dolphins . . . or an Eagles . . . or a Michigan hat) on. And he should do the bare minimum, sending the message he doesn’t want to be there while technically there. At some point (for example, before he pops an Achilles tendon like receiver Michael Crabtree did in 2013), the 49ers will dump him.

Which means that they should dump him now, agreeing to pay a chunk of the salary in exchange for a draft pick, since the best possible alternative would be paying a chunk of the salary after cutting him in exchange for nothing and the worst possible alternative would paying the full salary after an injury in exchange for nothing.

It all hinges on Kaepernick showing up tomorrow. And that’s precisely why he should.