SEATTLE, Wash. - 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said Sunday he wouldn't rule out Colin Kaepernick returning to the 49ers in 2016 after he was placed on injured reserve Saturday.
Kaepernick will require surgery on his left shoulder, Baalke confirmed, that is likely to happen next week. Baalke said Kaepernick initially sustained the injury in the loss Oct. 4 to the Green Bay Packers.
After Kaepernick was benched prior to the team's previous game against the Atlanta Falcons preceding last week's bye, his future with the team came into question. But Baalke would not rule out Kaepernick's return in 2016.
Has Kaepernick taken his last snap for San Francisco?
"I wouldn’t say that at all," Baalke said. "I think people are reading into that. For me, where we stand right now, I wouldn’t read too much into that right now."
"Right now is not the time to get into the particulars. Right now he’s no different than any other player that’s been placed on IR. When that surgery takes place, then the rehab process, getting him ready for the offseason program’s the next step."
Kaepernick did not show up on the team-issued injury report until this week, but he had received treatment from the team's medical staff after initially suffering the injury. He saught a second opinion on the shoulder and decided to opt for surgery. Baalke said surgery was a mutual decision between Kaepernick and the team's medical staff.
Kaepernick signed a six-year contract extension prior to the 2014 season. But the guarantees in the deal have run out, allowing the 49ers to move on at the start of the next league year, April 1, without significant financial reprocussions.
Before getting benched for Blaine Gabbert, Kaepernick led the NFL's last-ranked offense, both in scoring and yardage. In Gabbert's one start against the Falcons, he threw for 185 on 15 of 25 completions, with two interceptions and two touchdowns, both coming to tight end Garrett Celek.
With Kaepernick out, the 49ers promoted undrafted rookie Dylan Thompson from the practice squad. Baalke said the team does not have visits from any free agent quarterbacks scheduled.
Before getting placed on injured reserve Saturday, Kaepernick was listed as "probable" to play in Sunday's game with the Seahawks. Wednesday of this week marked the first time Kaepernick showed up on the injury report, despite sustaining the injury Week 4.
Reports Saturday indicated conflicting timelines between Kaepernick's camp and the team. Baalke said both the team's medical staff and the doctor Kaepernick saw for a second opinion were on the same page.
"They’re in agreement. It’s not like there’s, 'he said she said'," Baalke said. "All parties are in agreement that (surgery) is something that he needs to have. Now, is he going to have it immediately, that’s to be determined."
A report from NFL Network Sunday said three teams inquired about trading for Kaepernick at last month's trading deadline. Baalke refuted those reports, saying no teams contacted him.