Colin Kaepernick is excited to be a member of the 49ers.
No, really, he is! He said so Thursday, telling a group of reporters: “I’m a 49er and excited to work with Chip [Kelly] and his coaching staff. I’m excited about what’s to come.”
I can understand why you may be suspicious. This is, after all, the quarterback who sulked around the locker room most of last season. The one who requested a trade in February. The one whose deal to join the Broncos in April was, everyone and their Blaine Gabbert-loving mother said, imminent.
But now Kaepernick is happy in San Francisco — that’s right: happy, the opposite of sad. He said it Thursday! “I was happy to get back on the field this week.” So there you have it.
And, well, yes: It seems possible that Kap is less happy with the prospect of staying with the 49ers than he is frustrated by talks with Denver, which reportedly broke down over salary negotiations. In San Francisco, the quarterback will make $11.9 million guaranteed salary over the 2016 season; the Broncos, according to a source, offered $7 million for the year.
Kaepernick has since chalked his transfer request up to business maneuvering. And even if it was nothing more than cold, hard cash keeping him in the Bay, can you blame him? I would pee in an awful lot of cups for $4.9 million.
The irony here is that among NFL quarterbacks, the speedy Kaepernick is one of the strongest candidates to succeed in newly hired head coach Chip Kelly’s breakneck offense. So maybe, as a happier Kap settles back into San Francisco (and tries to retake the starting job from Gabbert), a new question will emerge: when will it sink in that he was in the right system all along?