The San Francisco 49ers have put contract negotiations with Colin Kaepernick on hold while the quarterback is under investigation by Miami police, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport. Both sides of the talks still hope that a new deal will be set before the start of the 2014 season, with Kaepernick to become an unrestricted free agent in 2015.
Kaepernick entered headlines last week for his reported involvement in a "suspicious incident" that prompted a Miami police investigation. Current teammate Quinton Patton and former teammate Ricardo Lockette also were involved. The investigation began when a woman who had reportedly been drinking and smoking marijuana in an apartment with the three men woke up in a hospital bed the next day with little recollection of the night beyond a point. She had a previous sexual relationship with Kaepernick.
No arrests have been made, much less charges levied. David Fucillo at 49ers blog Niners Nation has cautioned against overreaction, and has pointed out that the story has been sensationalized by TMZ, who broke the story by reporting that Kaepernick was under investigation for "sexual assault" (not true) and used a dated photo to portray the quarterback as being nonchalant about the situation.
While it's unclear whether Kaepernick will wind up in any real trouble, the 49ers are being cautious. The organization is set to re-sign the fourth-year star to an exorbitant contract that could fall in line with other major deals signed by big-name quarterbacks the last two offseasons.
Though Kaepernick is coming off an inconsistent 2013 season, he's arguably worth the money given his athletic ability and still-untapped potential. He still threw for 3,197 yards and 21 touchdowns to eight interceptions last season, and helped lead the 49ers to within a win of making the Super Bowl for a second straight season. Legal penalties could give the 49ers more leverage in negotiations, however.