Survey says: Players would take Colin Kaepernick over Blake Bortles

Cassandra Negley
·3 min read
Defensive players overwhelming voted for Colin Kaepernick to be in the league in an anonymous media survey. (Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images)
Defensive players overwhelming voted for Colin Kaepernick to be in the league in an anonymous media survey. (Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images)

It was the hot topic every time a quarterback was ruled out for the season due to an injury or consistently threw multiple interceptions in a game: What about Colin Kaepernick?

Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who played in a Super Bowl, has gone unsigned since taking a knee in 2016. His collusion case against the NFL rolls onward while fans, players and media ask why Kap once again wasn’t on a roster.

That group of questioners includes The Athletic, which polled 85 defensive players over the last six weeks of the season on “our most pressing quarterback questions.” Obviously it included Kap.

Nearly every player votes for Kap

The Athletic asked the players “Should Colin Kaepernick be on an NFL roster?” making sure to phrase it in such a way that would allow for him to be a starter or a backup. All 85 players participated in the question with 81 voting yes. It’s 95 percent of the vote.

Two players voted no and two voted “no comment.”

Bortles booted for Kap

The question was followed on the survey with “If you could replace one NFL quarterback with Colin Kaepernick, whom would you pick?”

Blake Bortles, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ five-year veteran and The Good Place dream boy, received 20 percent of the vote. Bortles completed 60.3 percent of his passes with 13 touchdowns and 11 interceptions over 12 games in 2018. He was benched in favor of Cody Kessler in late November.

Former Buffalo Bills quarterback Nathan Peterman, whom the Oakland Raiders signed to their practice squad in December, wasn’t far behind. He got 18 percent of the vote after throwing three touchdowns and 12 interceptions in eight games over two seasons for the Bills.

‘Couldn’t list them all’

Bortles and Peterman were favorites, though many quarterbacks received votes. Eli Manning (New York Giants), Josh Allen (Buffalo Bills), Jameis Winston (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Andy Dalton (Cincinnati Bengals) and Josh Rosen (Arizona Cardinals) all had multiple votes, as did the Washington Redskins and Bills QB rosters.

Many players, both starters and backups, received single votes.

The notes from players to The Athletic:

One player responded by saying he “couldn’t list them all,” and another voted for “25 percent of the league.” Three players specifically noted that if Kaepernick were to be signed to a roster “he’d be a backup.”

And this brutally honest answer (players were granted anonymity):

As one player told us, “S—, any team that carries three quarterbacks for sure, the third guy on that roster. And a majority of the teams with two quarterbacks, he should be the backup. And some places he should be the starter.”

The players also voted on most overrated and most important QBs. They also showed some differentiation in which quarterback they’d most like to face in a big game. New England Patriots star Tom Brady was on 18 percent of the votes. And on the flip side, thinking they’d pad the stats, Peterman came in at 15 percent.

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