INDIANAPOLIS -- Forget about the salary. Forget about the reports that Colin Kaepernick wants to go elsewhere. The San Francisco 49ers want Kaepernick back on the roster, and that's what they plan to do.
Baalke said Wednesday he "absolutely" expects Kaepernick to remain on the roster in 2016. Kaepernick's $11.9 million salary becomes guaranteed April 1, and Baalke indicated the plan is for Kaepernick to be on the roster then. That salary would seemingly give Kaepernick an edge in an expected competition with Blaine Gabbert.
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"The good thing is we have two guys that have gone in and proven they can play," Baalke said.
Baalke wouldn't rule out adding another quarterback to the mix via free agency, although it seems more likely they would try to draft one.
"You are going to kick the tires on anyone that's available. ... We feel pretty good about the guys we have, but we're always looking," Baalke said.
It's safe to say that the 49ers want to see if coach Chip Kelly can salvage Kaepernick's 49ers life before ending a career that peaked with 35 points in the Super Bowl only four seasons ago. Kelly reportedly was hoping to coach Kaepernick wherever he landed this offseason, and Baalke's public confidence is a sign that the entire organization is on board with what he called a "perfect marriage" between Kaepernick and Kelly's system.
"There's not a lot of quarterbacks that make it to free agency," Baalke noted.
Kaepernick isn't going to make it to free agency either. Baalke was involved in hiring Chip Kelly, in what looks like a Hail Mary attempt to turn the 49ers franchise around and save Baalke's job. Kelly, in turn, looks like a Hail Mary attempt at saving Kaepernick's 49ers career. They aren't bringing him back at that salary to be Gabbert's backup.