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Chip Kelly, 49ers mulling over whether to start Colin Kaepernick

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Chip Kelly didn't mince words or mislead anyone when he stepped to the podium after the 49ers' loss to the Cardinals on Thursday night. Asked about whether he's pondering a quarterback change, Kelly quickly responded: "We're going to look at everything."

So, yes, the Niners are mulling a move to pull starting quarterback Blaine Gabbert in favor of Colin Kaepernick. The players and coaches are off for the weekend, and everyone returns to the building Tuesday.

Although full staff conversations regarding the QB situation haven't happened yet, Kelly has had some informal, exploratory discussions about making a move. While no one would be surprised if Kaepernick is named the starter this week, there have been no firm decisions.

Several sources informed of the situation explained there are various factors at play in the decision to potentially make Kaepernick the starter.

As noted Friday, Kaepernick and the 49ers are closing in on a restructured contract to take away future injury guarantees and give him a chance to void the deal after 2017. Kaepernick hasn't signed it yet, but this deal would alleviate concerns about hamstringing the team's salary cap if he suffers a major injury given his hefty injury guarantees for 2017. A restructured contract helps get him onto the field.

The focus for Kaepernick has been on getting healthy, and though he's not quite at his playing weight from previous years, his arm is strong again. "He's just zipping the ball," a source said. That's important.

A QB issue can sometimes divide a locker room, but another source said there really is no issue in San Francisco. Players won't be surprised if there is a move, but there isn't an outspoken movement to start Kap -- or keep Gabbert. Players -- especially because this team is so young -- seem to shrug at any potential change, perhaps because there doesn't seem to be a huge separation.

As one source explained, "It's not like Kaepernick is outplaying Blaine in practice. It's basically the same. Both make some throws, miss some throws. It's not like players are saying, 'We need this guy.'"

It's more like, why not?

As the 49ers fell behind on national TV against the Cardinals, the crowd chanted, "We want Kap! We want Kap!" Gabbert is the 39th ranked QB based on passer rating. When the players return to the building, don't be surprised if a change is made.

Gabbert carries himself like the starter, and players treat him as such. But Kaepernick, who used to be somewhat of a loner, is no longer like that. Perhaps because of his recent openness regarding his stance on the national anthem, sources describe him as laughing with teammates and hanging out with them in a way that wasn't always the case.

To the outside world, a change seems inevitable. Time will tell if Kelly feels the same way.

Follow Ian Rapoport on Twitter @RapSheet.

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