Kent Tukeli | Tue 05/09/2017 - 05:31 EDT

Will Colin Kaepernick Play In The National Football League in 2017?

Will Colin Kaepernick Play In The National Football League in 2017?

Kaepernick’s Game Hasn’t Waned – Even On A Two-Win Team

Kaepernick Odds To Play In The NFL

During his first four years as a starter, Colin’s passer rating dipped from 98.3 in 2012 to 78.5 in 2015. The San Francisco 49ers transformed from Super Bowl finalists to an afterthought during these years, allowing good players and a great coach to walk from the franchise.

Colin worked through an injury-plagued 2015, returning to a league-worst 49ers squad in the process of a complete teardown. Despite a 2-14 regular season, Colin Kaepernick’s numbers rebounded. In 2016, he earned a 90.7 passer rating in eleven starts. This represents average production for a pivot, better than Brock Osweiler (72.2), Carson Wentz (79.3), Blake Bortles (78.8), Joe Flacco (83.5), Trevor Siemian (84.6), Eli Manning (86.0) and Carson Palmer (87.2).

Given the constant demand for quality quarterbacks in the NFL, odds are at least one franchise out of 32 would have need for an experienced QB. Nobody suggests Colin should replace Eli Manning or Joe Flacco, experienced quarterbacks with Super Bowl rings. However, there’s no way that Kaepernick’s skills have deteriorated to the point that he can’t help a single NFL franchise.

Colin Kaepernick’s Playoff Experience Speaks For Itself

Few pivots enjoy the playoff success that Colin Kaepernick earned with the San Francisco 49ers. Of the 64 starting and backup quarterbacks employed in the NFL, only seven have more playoff wins. 

In terms of passer rating, Colin averaged 87.3 over six games, including a superb 100.9 rating during the 2012 playoffs. Passer rating doesn’t take rushing into account, which happens to be one of his strong suits. Incredibly, he almost averages a first down every time he runs, earning 9.9 yards per rush. Harbaugh utilized Colin’s rushing often during San Francisco’s playoff runs in 2012 and 2013. Kaepernick averaged 84.5 yards per game, scoring four rushing touchdowns.

Since Kaepernick has accumulated more playoff success than the majority of NFL quarterbacks, most playoff contenders would benefit from hiring Colin as a backup in case of injury. Some teams would be outright improved with Kaepernick as backup. The Miami Dolphins hired former Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler when Ryan Tannehill suffered a serious knee injury. Another club with playoff aspirations – the Baltimore Ravens – passed on Kaepernick as a backup to injured Joe Flacco.

Even more curious, the Denver Broncos preferred to rehire Brock Osweiler after the Cleveland Browns rejected him as a quarterback. Brock had a horrendous 2016 season with the Houston Texans – Brock only mustered a 72.2 passer rating in 14 starts, and a 63.9 passer rating in two playoff starts. The Broncos still have an elite, Super Bowl defense left over from Peyton Manning’s last ride. A QB of Colin’s experience would help lift Denver into the playoffs, but the front office chose familiar mediocrity instead.

Why Won’t The NFL Hire Colin Kaepernick?

Colin’s protest started as a quiet, non-violent movement, now joined by millions across the world, including the ACLU and the NYPD. He’s probably not going to receive a contract before the season begins, but his jersey and merchandise remain top-fifty in the NFL.

One fan even drew a mural of Kaepernick as an Atlanta Falcon. Any franchise that decides to hire Colin will receive an immediate boost in revenue and respect, not to mentioned a battle-tested quarterback who’s adept at rushing the football.

All signs point to hiring Kaepernick as a win for most franchises, so why’s he still unsigned? Some owners have started to admit feeling uneasy about Colin’s stance against racial oppression and police brutality. Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti and president Dick Cass openly chose an indoor arena football quarterback instead of Kaepernick, specifically because of Colin’s public protest. The irony’s thick, especially considering the multitude of unflattering reports about the Baltimore Police Department – and Flacco’s uncertain health.

For all intents and purposes, the NFL operates as a monopoly, which means they can officially – or unofficially – blackball anyone they want, even if owners hurt their own bottom line in doing so. Some franchise owners, especially those publicly linked to President Donald Trump, disapprove of Colin’s criticism of the United States of America. Seems like NFL owners want their football stars to shut up and play, and Kaepernick’s silent protest spoke too loudly.

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