Why Kaepernick trade would be unthinkable

Five years ago this week, an NFL rarity occurred – a young, rising starting quarterback was traded.

Ending a swift feud between new coach Josh McDaniels and Jay Cutler, the Denver Broncos traded the quarterback to the Chicago Bears. The Bears paid a steep price for Cutler. They surrendered two first-round draft picks, a third-round pick and quarterback Kyle Orton to Denver to secure Cutler.

It is doubtful we will see another trade like that again. No one trades standout quarterbacks these days.

But what if? What if the San Francisco 49ers decided to consider trading quarterback Colin Kaepernick rather than extend him to a deal that will likely pay him in the $18 million-$20 million range? The team’s brass indicated last week that it wants to keep Kaepernick and hopes to finalize a deal by training camp.

Again, there is little chance the 49ers will even consider trading Kaepernick. I’m not suggesting it at all. But if they did, he’d command more than Cutler.

Kaepernick is more accomplished and is a proven postseason winner, which Cutler wasn’t when he was traded. He also has a better reputation. So, the price would be higher. Any team in need of a quarterback would gladly give Kaepernick the deal the 49ers are going to give him.

Earlier this week, the San Francisco Chronicle, while acknowledging it was a pipe dream and not likely at all, wondered if the 49ers could trade Kaepernick and then draft Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel. That idea was spurred by glowing words by 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh about Manziel.

While such a move would save the 49ers money in the immediate future, Still, there is no guarantee Manziel would get to the level Kaepernick is that quickly and there is no guarantee Manziel will be better than Kaepernick in the long-term.

I talked to ESPN scout Matt Williamson. He doesn’t think any quarterback who will be drafted this year will ever surpass Kaepernick while he is in the league.

“Kaepernick has more upside than any of these guys, no doubt,” Williamson said.

It’s just another reason why we will likely not see another Cutler-type deal.