Colin Kaepernick opted out of his contract on Friday, leaving the 49ers with no quarterbacks signed for 2017 and with even more salary cap space to make roster roves this offseason.
According the NFL players’ union, the 49ers had nearly $77 million in cap space to begin the week, second only to the Cleveland Browns’ nearly $104 million cushion. Kaepernick’s departure adds another $14.5 million to San Francisco’s cap space.
Kaepernick, meanwhile, will become a free agent Thursday, the first time in his six-year career he has not been with the 49ers.
Both general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan said this week they could sign Kaepernick to a more modest deal during free agency. The team will have to add four passers for their offseason practices, and the 49ers have been linked to just about every quarterback available.
On Friday, for instance, the NFL Network reported a possible three-way trade among the 49ers, Cowboys and Washington that would send Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins to the 49ers, Dallas quarterback Tony Romo to Washington and deal draft picks to the Cowboys.
A league source not authorized to speak on the record said there was nothing “solid” about the deal yet and that the transaction was merely at the rumor stage.
Lynch and Shanahan, meanwhile, continue to meet with the top quarterback prospects at the combine. They interviewed Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer on Wednesday and had similar sessions with Clemson’s DeShaun Watson, North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky and Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes on Friday. Those quarterbacks will throw and work out in front of teams Saturday.
“We don’t have any (quarterbacks),” Lynch said. “And so, that’s a position that’s a big focal point of our preparation right now, and this week’s a big part of that.”
Et cetera – Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey ran his 40-yard dash in 4.48 seconds Friday, the fourth-fastest of any runner in Indianapolis. Former NFL general manager Charley Casserly wrote that he thought McCaffrey looked the best during the running back drills later in the afternoon.
▪ Mahomes said that during one interview, a team official asked if he were more like a cat or a dog.
“I chose dog. I feel like I’ve got a fiery dog mentality on the field,” he said.
▪ Clemson’s Mike Williams, perhaps the top wideout in the draft, said he would wait until March 16 to run the 40-yard dash so he’s better prepared. Does he think the event will hurt his draft position?
“I don’t think so at all,” he said. “Jerry Rice didn’t run a fast time. Antonio Brown didn’t run a fast time. He’s the highest-paid receiver in the league right now. It’s all about just playing football if you look at it at the end of the day.”