49ers HC Chip Kelly announced Tuesday that he’s making a change at quarterback and starting Colin Kaepernick in Week 6’s game against the Bills.
“It’s a football decision. I don’t even know where his contract status is,” Kelly said, per Matt Barrows.
The 49ers are reportedly discussing a restructured contract for Kaepernick that would remove his 2017 injury guarantees in return for voiding the remaining years on his current deal, which would allow him to test the open market next year as an unrestricted free agent.
It was clear that this could be the week that the 49ers finally made a change at quarterback, considering Blaine Gabbert’s struggles to run the team’s offense.
Kaepernick has taken a lot longer than many anticipated to get back into game shape following offseason surgeries, so it will be interesting to see how he looks this weekend.
Kaepernick, 28, is in the third year of his seven-year, $126.97 million contract that included $61 million guaranteed and stands to make a base salary of $11.9 million for the 2016 season.
While those numbers are impressive on their own, the contract is essentially a pay-as-you-go agreement that includes ways for San Francisco to walk away with limited repercussions, as long as Kaepernick is healthy.
In 2015, Kaepernick threw for 1,615 yards while completing 59.3 percent of his passes to go along with six touchdowns and five interceptions over the course of eight games. He also added 228 yards rushing and a touchdown.