Colin Kaepernick had a pretty good season playing quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers last season, all things considered.
Stuck running a team that was barely NFL quality, Kaepernick threw for 16 touchdowns to four interceptions with a solid 90.7 passer rating, and he rushed for 468 yards. It wasn’t necessarily vintage Kaepernick, but it wasn’t bad either. There will be about 75-90 quarterbacks on NFL rosters this season, when you count backups and teams who carry third-stringers, and there’s no question Kaepernick is good enough to have one of those spots.
But after more than a week of free agency, in a league that struggles to find enough competent quarterbacks for each team, Kaepernick remains unsigned with no buzz about where he might go next. Of course, it’s easy to make the connection between the lack of interest and Kaepernick’s national anthem protest last season. Movie director Spike Lee made that connection in an Instagram post after having brunch with Kaepernick in New York, saying it “Smells MAD Fishy To Me, Stinks To The High Heavens.” Maybe fishy isn’t the right term, because it’s easy to figure out what’s happening.
Just because Kaepernick hasn’t signed yet, after he opted out of his 49ers contract, doesn’t mean he won’t find a good opportunity. However, it will get harder as free agency goes on and spots get filled by other quarterbacks. Even though Kaepernick has said he won’t protest during the anthem anymore, the NFL is a conservative league and it’s clear his protest didn’t go over well with everyone, particularly among owners. Bleacher Report quoted an unnamed general manager who estimated that 70 percent of league executives “genuinely hate” Kaepernick after his protest.
While it seems hard to believe Kaepernick won’t get signed after playing pretty well last season – though there are still football-related issues that have to be discussed when evaluating him, such as his erratic play from the pocket and inconsistent accuracy – he’s not even close to landing on a team yet.
Last season, when Kaepernick started his protest, he said, “I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. … If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.” In that way, Kaepernick seemed prepared for this possibility. Still, assuming he wants to keep playing, this offseason could get even more frustrating for him.
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