Could timing of Colin Kaepernick's surgery create contract conundrum?

BY Mike Garafolo • November 23, 2015

Sources close to Colin Kaepernick were adamant in telling FOX Sports the San Francisco 49ers' quarterback didn't consider his contract status when deciding to have surgery to repair a complete tear of the labrum in his left shoulder.

They also noted Kaepernick lost money by giving up $875,000 in per-game roster bonuses this year by heading to injured reserve.

That might very well be the case, but that doesn't mean the contract won't be a sticking point this offseason.

With FOX's Jay Glazer saying on Sunday that Kaepernick is likely done with the Niners (unless Jim Tomsula gets fired and a new coach wants Kaepernick to stay), it means Kaepernick's $11.9 million salary for 2016 is up in the air. Right now, it's non-guaranteed money. That changes on April 1, if he's still a member of the team.

The 49ers don't anticipate an injury in Kaepernick's non-throwing shoulder would prevent him from passing a physical five months or so from now. But remember, physicals are subjective and open to interpretation. Kaepernick could cite other doctors who have differing opinions and fight the team via a grievance.

The point is, if Kaepernick wants to maximize his 2016 payout with any team, it starts with getting that salary guaranteed with San Francisco -- or at least convincing them it will be guaranteed -- so that they trade him instead of release him. As of now, execs around the league think a guaranteed salary of nearly $12 million is too high for anyone to swallow. But there's always a chance of a restructure from a team that believes in Kaepernick.

Oh, and don't discount the surgery and the whispers he was hurt dating back to the loss to the Green Bay Packers in Week 4 as Kaepernick's way of saying he just wasn't right this year.

--This excerpt originally appeared in Mike Garafolo's "Six Points" column

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