What was reported on Wednesday became official on Friday. Colin Kaepernick has opted out of his contract and is now a free agent. Kaepernick met with John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan last week at the team facility and indicated that this would be his course of action.
Thursday marked the first day that Kaepernick could officially opt out. He can begin to negotiate a new contract on March 7. Free agency officially begins on March 9.
“We had an idea (that he would opt out),” Shanahan said on Wednesday. “He didn’t say it for sure, but we talked about it, and we had an idea he would go that route.”
Kaepernick threw for 2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions in 11 starts last season. He’s got 72 career passing touchdowns since being taken by the San Francisco 49ers in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft. “We’ve got to evaluate all the free agents, the trade possibilities and the draft, and whatever we think is the best scenario is the way we’re going to go," Shanahan said of the 49ers impending QB search. "Kap is in that, and he’s involved in that just like anyone else.”
The 49ers are currently without a QB on the roster as Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder are also free agents.
The search for the team’s next quarterback will be thorough and expansive.
“You’ve got to do your homework and look into everything,” Shanahan said.
Shanahan and Lynch will exercise patience throughout the process of finding their franchise quarterback. That could mean waiting a year before investing fully into a player they believe can lead the 49ers for the foreseeable future.
“I’m very eager. We’re all very eager,” Shanahan said. “But we’re going to make the right decision, and we’re not just going to do something because we’re eager.”
So who is Shanahan’s top choice to start under center for the 49ers in 2017? The answer to that question, at least for now, is being kept close to the vest.
“The consensus we have is that there are lots of good options,” Shanahan said, cracking a wry smile. “That’s the most I can give you.”