The Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers have agreed on the structure of a trade that would send quarterback Colin Kaepernick to to the Mile High City. However, the trade has not been consummated, as Kaepernick's $11.9 million salary for 2016 is guaranteed and he has a full cap hit of $15.9 million. Denver is working with Kaepernick on a restructure.
The trade is contingent on whether the Broncos and Kaepernick can come to an agreement on a new deal. So far, it doesn't sound like they're close to being on the same page.
The Broncos rank No. 32 out of 32 teams in available salary cap space, with just $1.648 million. As it stands, the Broncos literally can't afford Colin Kaepernick. But, Kaepernick reportedly wants to come to Denver, and cap wizard Mike Sullivan can find a way to juxtapose Kaepernick's salary in a way that will fit under the cap and place the burden upon future salary cap.
The Broncos will have another $9.5 million when they trade/part with left tackle Ryan Clady. There is zero chance that Clady returns to Denver, unless he has a sudden change of heart on taking a pay-cut. Even if he does, the Broncos signed Russell Okung and Donald Stephenson and as a result, don't have much budget left for tackles.
Clady will be playing for another team in 2016, which will free up almost $10 million. Right now, the Broncos don't even have enough money to sign their upcoming draft class.
As for Kaepernick, his star burned out in San Francisco with the departure of Jim Harbaugh. Kaepernick was benched for Blaine Gabbert last season and ended up injured for most of the season. He's coming off surgery, making it unclear if he'll be available for the offseason training program, which opens April 18th.
Mini-camp doesn't start until May 24th, buying Kaepernick and the Broncos a little more time to get healthy. Sources say the Broncos want to pay Kaepernick around $7 million per season, a deep pay-cut from what he's making now. But if he wants to resurrect his career and play for a winning program, Denver is his best hope.
Kaepernick and Denver are still far apart on what a new contract would look like, but Elway is known as one of the league's top front office closers. The Broncos reportedly had Kaepernick in for a private visit Thursday. If Elway truly wants Kaepernick, he'll find a way to get it done and do it on a deal that is team-friendly.
We'll keep you updated on the progress of this possible trade.
Chad Jensen is the Publisher of Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ChadNJensen.
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