We’re just on the verge of April, and Colin Kaepernick still doesn’t have a team. Is it because of his anthem antics last season? Is it his asking price? Or is it simply his ability?
It might be a bit of each, but in my opinion, and also according to general managers talking at the league meeting, Kaepernick’s political drama has little to do with him finding it difficult to land a job with any team in the NFL.
If you read what Kyle Shanahan, the San Francisco 49ers new head coach, had to say about Kaepernick, you get the impression it has more to do with his fit in the new system than anything else: I think Colin has a certain skill set that you can put a specific offense to it that he can be very successful in. When we first looked at it … that wasn’t necessarily the direction I wanted to go.
And that seems to be the consensus around the NFL. You need a very specific offensive system for Kaepernick to play well in. A mobile quarterback who has questionable accuracy and really struggles when he needs to make plays while he stays in the pocket? You need a certain offensive line for that, and Kaepernick just isn’t good enough to be worth such a structural change anymore.
Basically, Kaepernick right now is no longer good enough to be a starting quarterback on any team. He’s better than some, but there’s no upside, and no team right now wants a place holder like him that isn’t guaranteed to give the team more than 5-6 wins at best. And as a backup? Well, why add so much drama – not just because of his refusal to stand for the anthem last season, but for the constant questions and pressure that will come from the media the moment something goes wrong and they start asking for him to start. It might improve quarterback depth, but coaches rather have a clear hierarchy that creates less tension within the organization.
Maybe Kaepernick finds a team in the end, I don’t think that being blacklisted is what’s preventing him from signing a new contract, although his public persona isn’t helping. Kaepernick’s stats from last season are slightly misleading, but the one coaches look at the most is his 3-16 record as a starter the last two seasons, his inability to complete more than 59% of his throws and the high sack-rate, around 10% for the last three seasons. Everything else is background noise deviating from the main issue.