A few people have taken a hard stance that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is still unsigned strictly because of his political views. Others have insisted he’s unsigned only because of football reasons. It’s probably safe to say most people lean one way or another but know there’s some truth to both sides of the argument.
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh had a strong message on the Kaepernick topic. First of all, he thinks Kaepernick will be signed.
“He’s too good a player,” Harbaugh said, according to Nora Princiotti of the Washington Times. “I mean, he’s got to prove himself as a player. Colin knows that, he’d be the first to tell you that. You know, when you’re the quarterback and you don’t win, you’re going to have to answer for that. But he’ll get a chance again. Someone’s going to sign him and he’ll play in this league probably for a long time.”
That said, he also thinks the notion Kaepernick is being “blackballed” by the NFL is wrong.
“I would never use just a generic, stupid term like that to describe a more complicated type of situation,” Harbaugh said. “I just think it’s too easy. It’s intellectually lazy. To me, I think that it’s more nuanced. And I do think that people are, yeah, I absolutely think he’s going to get signed. I think he’ll probably be starting somewhere next [season].”
Here’s where it gets interesting. Harbaugh, one of the best coaches in the NFL (and the brother of Jim Harbaugh, who coached Kaepernick and thinks he can be a top quarterback still), says Kaepernick “absolutely” is going to get signed. So what does it say if Kaepernick doesn’t get signed? That’s a hypothetical and we don’t know how this story will play out. But let’s keep Harbaugh’s quotes that Kaepernick is capable of playing in the NFL – starting next season, even – in mind this summer if Kaepernick remains out of work.
It’s hard to believe Kaepernick is being blackballed because it’s impossible to believe the NFL is exercising explicit collusion in such a high-profile case. So in that respect, no, the NFL isn’t “blackballing” Kaepernick, technically. Are some NFL owners unwilling to sign Kaepernick because of his national anthem protest? It’s just as hard to believe that has never come up in any NFL front office. As some will say, it’s also fair to point out that Kaepernick has battled inaccuracy and has flaws as a pocket quarterback, and ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano reported he wants a chance to compete for a starting job and is asking for $9 million to $10 million per season. A starting spot or that money might not be available for him. That could slow down the market for him, as it probably has for Jay Cutler, or players at other positions like Adrian Peterson.
So Harbaugh is right, there’s plenty of nuance to the situation. He’s also right that Kaepernick is talented enough that he should be picked up this offseason. Now we just wait to see if that comes to pass.
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