Colin Kaepernick’s NFL Future Looking Bleak as Teams Fill Up on Other Trash Quarterbacks
The New York Giants signed Geno Smith. The Oakland Raiders signed E.J. Manuel. The Philadelphia Eagles signed Nick Foles. The Chicago Bears gave Mike Glennon $18.5 million guaranteed. The New York Jets are meeting with Josh McCown.
It’s a great offseason to be a terrible quarterback in the NFL—well, unless your name is Colin Kaepernick.
The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback has had no luck finding a new home after restricting and becoming an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Although there was some brief chatter about a possible return to San Fran (for significantly less money, of course), the Niners brought in both Matt Barkley and Brian Hoyer, making a contract for Kaepernick unnecessary and much less appealing.
“The likelihood of that happening has gone down significantly, but we’re not going to close our mind or our options on anyone, including him,” said 49ers general manager John Lynch when asked about bringing back Kaep. “I’d say we have two veteran quarterbacks now. We had said we weren’t opposed to it, and we certainly weren’t.”
So why no interest in Kaepernick? I mean, hell, everyone needs a backup quarterback, and if Geno Smith and E.J. Manuel are good enough for some teams, I’m sure someone could use Kaepernick behind their main guy.
Well, surprise, surprise, it’s not necessarily his on-field performance that is drying up the market for Kaepernick—although that is certainly part of it. The whole national anthem protest thing pissed off a lot of people, including many NFL executives and fans. Those are two big groups you don’t want to upset when you play professional sports. If a GM hates you, he won’t sign up, and if a team fears retaliation from its fans, they surely won’t sign you.
“He can still play at a high level,” an anonymous general manager in the AFC told Bleacher Report. “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.”
A lot of fans, myself included, fall into that boat as well.
“Second, some teams fear the backlash from fans after getting him. They think there might be protests or 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.”
With the hyper-political climate in America right now, a tweet from the President carries a lot of weight. The last thing any of the 32 franchises would like to wake up to is an early morning tweet from Donald Trump asking his supporters to never buy their jerseys again.
“Third, the rest genuinely hate him and can’t stand what he did. 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.”
There are still two sides to the debate: one that says Kaepernick has the right to protest and the NFL shouldn’t make any attempt to stop him, and the other side that says players need to find a better way to get their point across than disrespecting the national anthem. It seems like, for the time being, the latter is winning, simply because many team executives are on that side.
Kaepernick has announced that he’ll start standing for the anthem again, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to help. His career may not survive his stance.