NFL free agency kicked off last week. Teams snatched up fits and needs faster than the Flash. Except for Colin Kaepernick, who remains unemployed despite potentially being a serviceable backup for some team.
Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman did some digging to find out why a guy who was thought to be the leader of the next generation of quarterbacks continues to sit on the sidelines.
“He can still play at a high level,” one AFC general manager said. “The problem is three things are happening with him.
“First, some teams genuinely believe that he can’t play. They think he’s shot. I’d put that number around 20 percent.
If you believe Kaepernick can no longer play, that’s a fair argument. I don’t think he’s very good despite only being 29. He’s never been the most accurate passer and his decision making leaves a lot to be desired. That said, Geno Smith is still in the league as a backup. I have a hard time believing that Colin is worse than Geno Smith. But Jay Cutler is also unemployed, and he’s better than Kaepernick. NFL teams are just weird sometimes.
“Second, some teams fear the backlash from fans after getting him. They think there might be protests or [President Donald] Trump will tweet about the team. I’d say that number is around 10 percent. Then there’s another 10 percent that has a mix of those feelings.
This just seems dumb.
“Third, the rest genuinely hate him and can’t stand what he did [kneeling for the national anthem]. They want nothing to do with him. They won’t move on. They think showing no interest is a form of punishment. I think some teams also want to use Kaepernick as a cautionary tale to stop other players in the future from doing what he did.”
I believe this to be true, but I also think there’s more to the story than this. While I have no issues with what Colin did last season, I can also see how it divided the locker room. The 49ers were the second worst team in the league last year. Most of that was due to a lack of talent, but if guys don’t like each other in the locker room, they don’t play for each other on the field. Maybe teams don’t want to bring in a guy who they think is going to divide their locker room?
Granted, guys with bigger issues have gotten second chances, and talent typically wins out over issues.
While I’m sure kneeling for the national anthem has kept teams from showing more interest in Kaepernick, there are other factors to consider. Teams that aren’t set at quarterback will likely turn to the draft to fill the need, and teams that are set at quarterback would rather go with a guy who brings less drama. If Kaep isn’t on a roster by the preseason, then this becomes a bigger story.
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