49ers GM Trent Baalke says team's personnel fits coach Chip Kelly's approach
Colin Kaepernick has been to every position meeting since the 49ers’ offseason program began earlier this month and has even been on the field mimicking what his healthy teammates are doing in Chip Kelly’s offense.
“Nothing’s changed,” general manager Trent Baalke said. “As we said at the combine, our intentions were to have him on this roster. He’s still on this roster. A lot of reports have been out their surfacing, most of it’s not factual. But I can’t control that.”
Still, Baalke, who was speaking at his annual pre-draft news conference, declined to say the 49ers would not trade Kaepernick, who, through his agents, requested to explore a deal in February. Kaepernick reportedly has met twice with Denver Broncos general manager John Elway, who has been his most interested suitor.
“You never say never in this business,” Baalke said. “That gets you in trouble. So for me to say never, I’m not going to do that. Wouldn’t say that about any player on our roster. … I can’t predict the future.”
When he coached the Philadelphia Eagles, Kelly had little patience with players who weren’t fully on board with his approach. That seems to bode poorly for Kaepernick’s future with the 49ers.
But despite Kaepernick’s trade request and meetings with another team’s general manager, Baalke wouldn’t even acknowledge he has an unhappy quarterback.
“I don’t think you’ve ever seen that quoted (from) Colin,” Baalke said. “I think you’ve speculated based on what the agent has asked for. I don’t think that Colin has ever come out and asked for that publicly, to my knowledge. If he has, I haven’t seen it.”
Baalke said he hasn’t spoken to Kaepernick since he reported for the voluntary offseason program April 4. He estimated he hasn’t talked to 85 percent of the players because he’s been focused on preparing for the draft.
“I come in at 7 a.m., I go into the draft room, I leave at 7 p.m. from the draft room,” Baalke said. “I have not even been on the field yet talking to players.”
A deal with the Broncos hinges on whether Kaepernick will reduce his salary or whether the 49ers will pick up a portion of it. Denver has about $9 million of salary-cap space, and Kaepernick’s cap figure for 2016 is $15.9 million.
Kaepernick had three surgeries after he was replaced as the starter by Blaine Gabbert in November. His left shoulder and left knee are expected to be fully healed by next month.
“There’s really nothing physical he’s doing right now,” Baalke said. “He’s rehabbing, and that seems to be progressing really well. And … my understanding is he’s doing some drops and stuff like that, mimicking the play that goes on and just trying to get a feel for the offense, the timing, the rhythm of it. But he’s not able to do anything much more than that.”
Baalke blasts Baldy – Baalke didn’t mince words when asked about NFL analyst Brian Baldinger’s recent report that there already is tension between Baalke and Kelly.
“I can tell you emphatically that is total B.S.,” Baalke said. “That’s all I can say. We’ve had absolutely a wonderful start to this relationship, and there’s really nothing else to say. He’s coaching ball, and we’re up there in the draft room going to work. It couldn’t be better. Where Baldy got that from, what his angle was, it’s ridiculous. And you can quote me on that.”
Et cetera – Baalke said he hasn’t met with former right tackle Anthony Davis and said Davis would not influence how the 49ers approach the tackle position in the draft. Davis, who abruptly retired last year, said he wants to come back this year but hasn’t filed for reinstatement.
▪ Baalke said the 49ers are exploring both a contract extension and the fifth-year option for safety Eric Reid, who is going into the final season of his original deal. “I would expect him back (in 2017) one way or another,” Baalke said.
▪ Defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey, who tore his ACL on Nov. 22, is making progress in his recovery, Baalke said, but he stopped short of saying Dorsey would be ready for the start of the season, saying only “he looks to be in good shape.”