Colin Kaepernick returns to 49ers, but for how long?
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick was one of nearly 70 players who showed up for the 49ers’ first day of work under new coach Chip Kelly.
Because they brought in a new coaching staff this year, the 49ers are allowed a two-week head start on the offseason program. Nearly every player on the roster was on hand for the first event, an 8:30 a.m. meeting.
The most prominent was Kaepernick, who requested a trade in February and has spent the last three months rehabilitating from recent surgeries in Vail, Colo. The Denver Broncos, with whom Kaepernick has met, have discussed a trade. But a deal is predicated on the quarterback reducing his $14.3 million contract for 2016, and so far, the sides are far apart.
Kaepernick must attend 90 percent of the 49ers’ offseason program to earn a $400,000 bonus. Showing up also gives him some leverage in his negotiations with the Broncos. Their offseason program starts April 18.
The first two weeks of offseason training involve strength and conditioning only. Coaches can’t be on the field, per the rules of the collective bargaining agreement, and footballs can’t be used.
Kaepernick still is recovering from surgeries to his left shoulder and left knee and likely only can participate in some of the conditioning work.
Monday’s group also included defensive lineman Tony Jerod-Eddie, who signed a one-year contract Monday. Jerod-Eddie, who received little attention on the free-agent market, has been a backup since entering the league in 2012 and probably will supply depth.
A few players did not attend, including nose tackle Ian Williams, who is rehabilitating from a recent ankle procedure in Miami. Williams’ availability for Week 1 is in jeopardy after he reinjured the ankle this offseason.
Left tackle Joe Staley is in Spain with his family, according to his social media account.
Another offensive tackle, Anthony Davis, has not yet applied for reinstatement with the league office after taking last season off. Davis has stated on social media his intent to return, including Friday, when he wrote on Twitter, “I’ll be filing for reinstatement to the NFL later this year. Dealing with Trent is giving me a headache.”
The last sentence likely refers to 49ers general manger Trent Baalke, who presumably will want to know Davis’ status before the draft begins April 28.
If Davis is unavailable, the 49ers’ top candidate to start at right tackle would be last year’s seventh-round draft pick, Trent Brown.
All of the 49ers’ offseason sessions are voluntary until the team holds a mandatory minicamp June 7-9.