On March 1, Colin Kaepernick, former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, opted out of his contract with the team, making him a free agent for the first time in his career. Kaepernick, who took San Francisco to the Super Bowl in 2013, his first full season as the starting QB, made headlines during the 2016 season for taking a knee during the national anthem. This sparked controversy not only throughout the sports world, but also throughout the whole country. Many were against Kaepernick for what he did, yet at the same time many people endorsed him, including other 49ers players.
In an article published by ESPN, Kaepernick explained the reason he was originally sitting during the anthem last season was because he wasn’t “going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” The anthem protest has recently spread throughout the league.
Most recently, Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett was involved in a situation in Las Vegas with the police after the Floyd Mayweather – Conor McGregor fight.
In regards to the situation, Bennett tweeted the following.
“Las Vegas police officers singled me out and pointed their guns at me for doing nothing more than simply being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Bennett later in the tweet stated, “I have always held a strong conviction that protesting or standing up for justice is just simply, the right thing to do. The fact is unequivocally, without question why before every game, I sit during the national anthem.”
For a QB who has been a starter for six years and has been known for his ability to run and throw, including a Super Bowl appearance, there shouldn’t be an issue for him to get picked up on the open market pretty quickly right? Not so fast.
The NFL preseason has come to an end, the teams have trimmed their squads down to the 53-man final roster. Kaepernick is still a free agent. He was not part of the final roster cuts for a team and he has not been given a chance.
There are several teams in the NFL who could use Kaepernick; most of the teams mainly needing a backup quarterback, but there are a few in which he could easily compete for a starting job. After going through the list of the 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL, it’s easy to conclude that Kaepernick would probably start for a few. Based on stats, and their current situation, they could use Kaepernick as their starting QB. Those teams are the New York Jets, 49ers, and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Now the reason Kaepernick is not on the 49ers is pretty self-explanatory. Just before the season, Kaepernick restructured his contract, which gave him the option to opt out after the season ended, or stay with the team for another year. Kaepernick chose to leave San Francisco, so obviously, he wasn’t going back. He wants another opportunity, which brings other options; the Jets and the Jaguars.
The current Jets quarterback depth chart looks like this, in the following order:
- Josh McCown,
- Bryce Petty
- Christian Hackenberg.
The Jaguars, in the following order:
- Blake Bortles
- Chad Henne
Start with the Jets. Josh McCown was recently brought in by the Jets to be the veteran QB presence. Without him, the Jets are left with two unproven, young quarterbacks. McCown has never played in more than 11 games in a season, while Kaepernick has played in 12 games or more in four out of his six seasons. Kaepernick also has a career quarterback rating of 88.9, coming off a season with a 90.7 rating in 12 games last year in San Francisco, while McCown’s career rating is 78.2, coming off of a season with a 72.3 rating with Cleveland. McCown is also 38 years old, is toward the end of his career and has played in 82 games since his career started in 2002. Kaepernick has played in 69 games and his career began in 2011. As far as the other quarterbacks in New York, Bryce Petty has played in six total games in his career, only started four of them and holds a 60.0 QB rating – all while Hackenberg has not appeared in a regular season game. So as far as the Jets go, if they want to get better, Kaepernick should absolutely be considered for the job, regardless of a possible distraction. It really cannot get much worse there.
Now Jacksonville is where it gets interesting. The Jaguars have a fourth year quarterback in Blake Bortles, who was the third overall pick in 2014, and he has really struggled. After a pretty solid sophomore season where he threw for over 4,000 yards and had a 88.2 rating, Bortles production fell. His rating went down to a 78.8 and he only threw 23 touchdowns, which was 12 less than the 35 he through the season before. Chad Henne, the backup, has been in the NFL since 2008, and has only appeared in four games since the beginning of the 2014 season. He has a career QB rating of 75.5. He has only had one season where he had a rate higher than 80, that was an 80.7 rating during the 2014 season in which he only appeared in three games and threw 78 passes. Right now in Jacksonville there isn’t much promise at the QB position and bringing in Kaepernick cannot make the situation worse, in fact with Kaepernick’s stats the past few years compared to those two, all signs point to the Jags being better with Kaep under center.
These two teams alone with their starting quarterback issues just show that there are jobs in this league that Kaepernick is more than capable of taking. Yes, the anthem protest may provide a distraction that some teams do not want, but to say that Colin Kaepernick is not good enough to be in the NFL, well – that’s simply not true.