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Instant Debate

Colin Kaepernick's best fit? Browns could benefit QB ... if he must leave 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers apparently expect Colin Kaepernick to remain on the roster for the 2016 season; however, NFL Media's Rand Getlin reported Thursday that Kaepernick's agents have requested permission from the team to seek a trade.

According to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, the Cleveland Browns and Houston Texans are among teams that would be interested in the young signal caller, provided his request is granted. But if Kaepernick -- who is coming off surgery and a truncated season in which he posted a career-low passing average (6.6 yards per attempt) and passer rating (78.5) along with a 6:5 touchdown-to-interception ratio, and whose $11.9 million salary will be guaranteed on April 1 -- stays in San Francisco, he'll play under a new head coach in Chip Kelly with a history of helping dual-threat quarterbacks like Kaepernick succeed.

Considering the teams -- including the Niners -- that could end up with Colin Kaepernick in 2016, which is the best fit for him?

His best fit is with Chip Kelly's system. Kelly will adapt his system to the QB he has. He will put an element of the read option into his offense, which will help Kaepernick. The other system that would be good for him is in Carolina. Kaepernick will struggle in a normal dropback offense because of his inability to quickly read defenses and be consistently accurate. Obviously, though, with the Panthers, Kap would be backing up reigning MVP Cam Newton.

Generally speaking, if you acquire Kaepernick, you do it with the idea he is competing for the starting job, not that he'll be your surefire starter. The popular wisdom is that Kaepernick would be better off staying in San Francisco with Chip Kelly, who loves multi-dimensional quarterbacks. The people who think that don't see that Kaepernick's best chance at resuscitating his career would come with a head coach like Cleveland's Hue Jackson. It was Jackson who helped develop Andy Dalton in Cincinnati and also prepared backup AJ McCarron to perform solidly in emergency duty late last season. Jackson can have the same positive impact on Kaepernick. The coach knows how to connect with quarterbacks and play to their strengths. That's how former 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh got the most of Kaepernick earlier in his career. Jackson could do the same thing for a young man in desperate need of a fresh start. I think his best fit is to stay put in San Francisco with Chip Kelly. That being said, it won't be a successful fit in the long run, because they won't be winning. Chip will accentuate Kaepernick's athletic ability -- and Kaepernick's ability, when he's coached right, can enable him to prey on poor defenses. Unfortunately for Kaepernick, the other NFC West teams do not have poor defenses these days. Hue Jackson has a track record for working with young quarterbacks and young players in general, and getting them to play better. He's been around and has seen what Kaepernick can do. Jackson is good at getting a quarterback in position to do what he does best consistently. Cleveland would be a good spot for Kaepernick because of the offense that he would run; what he'd be asked to do would fit his skill set.

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