Sports Magazine

Harbaugh Chose Kaepernick Over Manning

By Brettclancy @thebrettclancy

It seems like ancient history now, but it was only this past offseason that Peyton Manning was looking for a home, and the media set it’s sights on San Francisco. The 49ers made an easy target. After all they were coming of an NFC Championship loss to the eventual league champion Giants, and many critics believed they were a QB away from the superbowl. (In truth they were actually a healthy Ted Ginn away. Giving the team it’s veteran returner as well as another option in a passing game that seemed to be almost exclusively running 2WR sets, afraid to send Brett Swain or a fresh from the practice squad Joe Hastings onto the field.)

The 49ers would become front runners when it was revealed weeks later that coach Jim Harbaugh and GM Trent Baalke had flown to Durham, NC to watch Manning throw. Harbaugh denied the team’s interest, and I, for one believed him. Harbaugh is a former NFL QB, who seems to take special interest in players at the position, and this wasn’t just any QB; This was Peyton Manning, the guy who replaced Harbaugh as starting quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts. Manning was also being linked to QB needy division rival Arizona at the time, providing extra incentive for Harbaugh to see what he might be up against twice a year.

I won’t say the 49ers had zero interest, after all it is Peyton Manning, but they  would have wanted Manning on their terms. Harbaugh already knew he had the teams future at QB with Kaepernick, and best as I could tell wanted to see if Manning was in the market for a rebound. Sign with the 49ers on a modest salary, one year deal. (Similar to what they did with Randy Moss.) After the year, the team would likely let Manning sign on somewhere else, having proved he was fully recovered and the Niners could move forward with Kaepernick.

Harbaugh never wanted to be locked in to any other quarterback. Even when resigning Alex Smith the team made sure the deal was cap friendly if they decided to part ways early if Alex Smith’s career year proved to be nothing more than a flash in the pan, or if as has been the case, Kaepernick received and seized an opportunity to take the starting job.

In short, the Niners passed on Manning (not the other way around) largely because of Jim Harbaugh’s faith in Colin Kaepernick, who it was recently revealed Harbaugh believed to be not only the best QB, but the best overall player in his draft class click here

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