John Lynch says 49ers would have cut Kaepernick had he not opted out
In an interview with Pro Football Talk, 49ers general manager John Lynch clarified the circumstances behind Colin Kaepernick’s decision to opt out of his contract in San Francisco.
Kaepernick’s extended free agency has been the subject of much conversation and speculation that the outspoken quarterback is being blackballed by the NFL for his political stances. Although some have blamed Kaepernick for opting out in the first place, Lynch confirmed that the team planned to release him anyway, and that the two sides had a conversation that led to the parting of ways.
“...I don’t want to characterize it as he made a decision to leave here,” Lynch told PFT. “We both sat down and under that current construct of his deal, it was a big number...one thing I think Kyle [Shanahan] was very clear and I think Colin appreciated, is that Kyle has an idea of how he’d play with Colin Kaepernick. But he preferred to run the exact offense that he ran in Atlanta last year...if you change it for the quarterback, you change it for everybody on that offense. So he had a great discussion that I think gave Colin clarity, so we moved on.
“... I think we’ve been very up front with it...Yes, he was not going to be here under the construct of his contract. We gave him the option, ‘You can opt out, we can release you, whatever.’ And he chose to opt out, but that was just a formality.”
Lynch also said he wanted to end any perception that the 49ers were questioning Kaepernick’s desire to keep playing football. He apologized for that narrative and vouched for Kaepernick’s desire to play again.