In a surprising conclusion to the quarterback drama in Santa Clara, quarterback Colin Kaepernick‘s season has officially come to an end, as the team announced it will place him on season-ending injured reserve Saturday morning.
Kaepernick’s status is apparently due to a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder that occurred during the team’s Week 4 loss against the Green Bay packers. The five-year veteran has opted to undergo surgery to repair the tear, ruling him out for the remainder of the year.
After remaining non-committal about his status earlier in the week, it appears as if head coach Jim Tomsula will have no other choice but to use QB Blaine Gabbert as his lead signal-caller for the remainder of the year.
The team has promoted QB Dylan Thompson from the practice spot to take Kaepernick’s place on the active roster.
The move from the 49ers comes as a surprise, as Kaepernick was listed all week as probable ahead of Sunday’s game in Seattle. More than anything, it may be a sign that both sides are ready to move on following the end of the season.
After a series of poor performances throughout the year, Kaepernick was benched in favor of Gabbert ahead of their Week 9 game against the Atlanta Falcons.
The demotion came as a surprise, as the once highly touted young star was forced to take a backseat to a quarterback who had been labeled a “bust” in his career.
But Gabbert impressed with his strong play during his outing, leading the 49ers to an improbable third win, and solidifying himself for another shot against Seattle this week.
The series of events lead many to question whether Kaepernick had a future with the 49ers, but it appears now that it is all but certain that both sides will look to move on following the end of the season.
Kaepernick will finish the year with his lowest tallies since beginning the season as the starting quarterback in 2013. He has thrown for 1,615 yards and six touchdowns, while also tossing five interceptions for a 78.5 passer rating on the year.
Should both sides decide to move on, Kaepernick’s team-friendly contract signed in June of 2014 will make it easy for the 49ers to opt out. Kaepernick’s $11.9 million base salary will only be guaranteed for the 2016 season if he remains on the roster on April 1.
The team will save a total of $16.765 million in cap space in 2016, making the move all the more likely. With a mediocre record, the 49ers might choose to invest a high draft pick in a young talent rather than move forward with the expensive and unpredictable Kaepernick.
Kaepernick’s tenure in San Francisco wasn’t without its highlights though, as the quarterback was responsible for leading the team to their first Super Bowl appearance since 1994.
Along with head coach Jim Harbaugh, Kaepernick led a resurgence of the franchise that saw three straight NFC championship appearances and a Super Bowl birth.
The former second-round pick in the 2011 draft will likely end his time in San Francisco with 10,030 yards through the air for 56 touchdowns, while adding 1,832 yards with his legs on 306 attempts.