Long past time for Niners to scrap Kap, Ponder future

Well, well, well, the 49ers appear to have run into a clue, even if it comes several months too late.

Team management reportedly has asked quarterback Colin Kaepernick to waive an injury clause in his contract, although they may want to include his agent in the negotiations at some point. Or at least Nessa Diab, his girlfriend and chief advisor.

But if the 49ers want to Kaepernick to return to the field as an audition for a starter position in the future, then it’s just another dumb idea of theirs.

For Kaepernick, it makes sense to accept more guaranteed money and the right to become a free agent next summer. That allows him to return to the field, where he has a chance to improve his value in the open market.

From the Niners’ standpoint, though, Kaepernick behind center does them no good — none whatsoever. Not on the field. Not in the locker room. Not off the field. Now now. Not later.

Kaepernick will be 29 years old by the time next season rolls around. When you consider his recent hand, knee and shoulder issues, he’ll be even older in football years. We’ve already seen enough of him to know what he’ll be next week, next month, next season. Quarterbacks just don’t morph from Steve DeBerg to Steve Young at his age.

No, what the Niners should want out of this is to dump Kaeperwreck in a trade — hello, New York Jets? — and remove the final obstacle before he’s shipped out of Santa Clara once and for all.

At best, the Niners are on the short list of worst teams in the league. That doesn’t mean the season has to be a total waste. What they can do is take a close look at younger players and border-line veterans like Blaine Gabbert and especially Christian Ponder, who has the support of several teammates even though he has yet to take a rep with the first unit this season.

Then general manager-in-waiting Tom Gamble and his staff can set their sights on a franchise quarterback in the draft, not some me-first, broken-down distraction whose best days are long gone.

JOSH US NOT: While rookie quarterbacks Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz continued to do wonders for their teams, Niners first-rounder Joshua Garnett played 18 snaps in garbage time last week.

The highlight was a safety on which an Arizona Cardinals’ lineman blew through the hole that Garnett vacated to sack the quarterback in the end zone.

That was all Gabbert’s fault, of course.

BLACKJACK FOR PRESIDENT: Balls is a fan of the Raiders’ Jack Del Rio these days. How could it not be? No NFL coach carries a bigger ball bag on game days.

That was apparent once again in a 34-31 escape against the down-on-their-luck San Diego Chargers on Sunday. Late in the third period, his team behind by five points, Del Rio decided against a gimme field goal and went for broke again. On fourth-and-3, Derek Carr connected with go-to guy Michael Crabtree for a touchdown that put their team in front to stay.

Some blame the success on dumb luck. Balls credits a coach who knows that his potent offense has to roll 7s to overcome a crummy defense.

One of these days an opponent will pay close attention to Crabtree in those situations. Until then, Blackjack has a Coach of the Year vote here.

CONNECT THE DOTS: One year after batting coach Barry Bonds ruined Giancarlo Stanton and the Miami Marlins offense, the ex-Giants egomaniac is out of work already. It seems that manager Don Mattingly wasn’t impressed by his game preparation or lack thereof.

Meanwhile, the Giants ranked 12th in OPS and 13th in runs scored in the National League after the All-Star break. Two years ago, they invited Bonds to spring training, and he actually received some favorable reviews.

No, the Giants wouldn’t do it, would they?

WHERE HAVE YOU GONE … Jeff Kent?

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