The veteran passer has a long way to go in what could be the most important season of his career, and NFL Media columnist Michael Silver came away from a trip to Niners camp with the belief that Kaepernick has an uphill climb simply to take meaningful snaps in 2016.
Silver told Dan Hellie on Tuesday's edition of NFL Network's NFL Total Access that Kaepernick is "allegedly in competition" for the starting job while labeling Blaine Gabbert as the "heavy favorite" for the No. 1 role.
"He's loved in this locker room," Silver said of Gabbert. "He did a lot of good things last year and I'd be shocked if he's not the starter in the opener."
Silver compared Gabbert to Alex Smith, saying the former first-round pick could be the type of player who "resurrects himself" later in his career. We have our doubts Gabbert will ever be a functional starter -- we can't shake all that grisly tape from his lost Jacksonville years -- but he did show growth in his second year with the Niners and now has coach Chip Kelly by his side.
It makes Gabbert a compelling underdog story and could put Kaepernick on the fringes of the same team that once identified him as its unquestioned future.