If it was not blatantly clear before it sure as hell is now. Colin Kaepernick is blackballed from the NFL. He never tested positive for drugs, never beat the shit out of his significant other or accrued any suspension of any kind in his career.
Instead he is being punished for taking a stand against racial injustice in America. He famously started taking a knee during the national anthem last season which sent the media and fake nationalists into a hot take orgasm.
Since he decided to take a knee Kaepernick became a political figure instead of a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. NFL telecasts would actually bother to find him kneeling during a national anthem like any of us truly give a shit. No harm, no foul though. Kaepernick still had his job and talking heads always look for stupid stuff to yell at each other about.
That was then, this is now. At the moment 20 quarterbacks have been signed in free agency. A large chunk of these guys are embarrassingly bad compared to Kaepernick. Here is the list of losers, take a look for yourself. The most accomplished name on the list is Mark Sanchez who led the New York Jets to back-to-back AFC title games in 2009 and 2010. After that it’s just a bunch of drek.
Owners have been mum on signing Kaepernick. New York Giants co-owner John Mara was at least man enough to speak on the issue, but did not offer a logical answer other than cowardice.
“All my years being in the league, I never received more emotional mail from people than I did about that issue,” Mara told MMQB. “If any of your players ever do that, we are never coming to another Giants game. It wasn’t one or two letters. It was a lot. It’s an emotional, emotional issue for a lot of people, moreso than any other issue I’ve run into.”
It’s understandable to see where Mara is coming from, after all he owns a business that is dependent on spectators. Then you remember he employed Josh Brown last year. The team’s former kicker was evidently using his wife as a personal kicking net. As has always been the case with the NFL–out of sight, out of mind.
Kaepernick had surprisingly decent season for the basement-dwelling 49ers. Per Pro-Football Reference he started eleven games, threw for 2,241 yards with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions with a completion percentage of 59.6 percent. Those aren’t Tom Brady numbers, but they also are not numbers that should put you out of a job.
The Seattle Seahawks were once Kaepernick’s biggest obstacle, but became one of his last lifelines this offseason. So far this has been the only team to bring Kaepernick in and perhaps give him the fairest chance at a job. Yesterday (June 5) they opted to sign Austin Davis instead.
Davis is a career third-stringer who has never sniffed the field in a big game. Kaepernick on the other hand was a pass interference call away from being a Super Bowl champion with the 49ers.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll believes Kaepernick still has starter potential and did not want to risk a quarterback competition in Seattle. Kaepernick is still solid, but I think Clay Matthews already made this clear:
With the Seahawks out of the picture there are few spots left for Kaepernick to turn. A majority of teams seem to be set at quarterback but injuries change plans. We’ve seen this before with Mike Vick after his release from prison. The Philadelphia Eagles ended up taking a leap of faith in Vick who in turn rewarded the team for their faith.
Here are the squads that should be looking to take that leap of faith with Kaepernick.
New York Jets
Current QBs: Josh McCown, Christian Hackenberg, Bryce Petty
My beloved Jets. Being a Jets fan is tough. The greatest Jets quarterback of my lifetime was Chad Pennington. After that it might be Mark Sanchez. If that doesn’t give you a peek into how dreadful rooting for Gang Green is I don’t know what does. The Jets already have three quarterbacks on the roster–Josh McCown, Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty.
They signed McCown as a veteran presence to help mentor Hackenberg and Petty. Okay I’ll give that a pass. What will not get a pass is the suggestion Hackenberg or even Petty will be the starting quarterback of the future. Petty started towards the end of last season and was nothing special. Hackenberg had the look of a bust and has done nothing to disprove that notion and McCown is McCown.
Not only would Kaepernick immediately become the best quarterback on the roster, he actually wants to play for the Jets. Who the hell wants to play for the Jets? No one. If you can find someone that does and they have some talent you sign him and think about everything else later.
The reason this won’t go down is because of owner Woody Johnson who is a close friend of Trump. Kaepernick has been vocal in his distaste of Trump so it’s unlucky a Trump chrony extends an olive branch.
Current QBs: Joe Flacco, Ryan Mallett, Dustin Vaughan
Nobody knows how to get the best out of Colin Kaepernick like Jim Harbaugh. In 2012 Kaepernick was the Willy Beamen to Harbaugh’s Tony D’AMato. Together the two reached the NFC title game twice and the Super Bowl once. They lost that Super Bowl to Jim’s brother John and the Baltimore Ravens. Since Jim left for Michigan there is no chance for a direct reunion.
There are few franchises more stable than the Ravens. They have dealt with some serious black eyes (Ray Lewis, Ray Rice scandals) yet remain solid from top to bottom. As said before Kaepernick is not a problem in the locker room or on the field. All his issues are created by talking heads.
Harbaugh likely has the most intel on Kaepernick the player as well as the man thanks to his brother. Joe Flacco would still be the leading man, but wouldn’t it be nice to add someone with as much playoff experience as Flacco as well as someone who can make plays happen without his arm. Ryan Mallett is a competent backup, but he should not stand in the way of a potential Kaepernick signing.
Current QBs: Cam Newton, Derek Anderson, Joe Webb, Garrett Gilbert
The Panthers offer the best system fit of the bunch. Cam Newton is the unquestioned star of the team and reason this team remains competitive. After Newton however is a poo poo platter of backups. Derek Anderson has proved time and time again that he is not fit to be a starting quarterback (did you see him on Monday Night Football last year?). Joe Webb is a good Swiss army knife, but he is not a competent backup. I don’t even know who Garrett Gilbert is.
Not only is Kaepernick better than the three backups currently on the Panthers’ roster, he is also a better fit. Newton is by far the superior passer, but Kaepernick could closely resemble Newton’s playing style if he needed to step in. Last season with the 49ers Kaepernick used his legs to make plays (468 rushing yards and two touchdowns per Pro-Football Reference). He was also careful with the football sporting a 4-to-1 touchdown to interception ratio.
Adding Kaepernick would give the Panthers the same dynamic the Eagles had with Donovan McNabb and Mike Vick. Kaepernick would serve as the backup, but could also be brought in for run situations since the Panthers want Newton to cut down on those type of plays.
Current QBs: Ben Roethlisberger, Landry Jones, Joshua Dobbs, Bart Houston
Our final team is one of the league’s elite, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Few organizations in not just the NFL, but in the world of professional sports, are run as well as the Steelers. The Rooney family has been at the forefront of equality (i.e. The Rooney Rule) as well as stability.
They stood by Ben Roethlisberger when he allegedly sexual assaulted a female in 2008 and again in 2010. They too brought in Vick although it was well after his name no longer became synonymous with dog fighting. That alone is enough for them to reach out to Kaepernick and I haven’t even mentioned football.
The football decision is even more clear. Landry Jones is a bum. Any Antonio Brown fantasy owner or Steeler fan can tell you this. That person can also tell you Roethlisberger hasn’t played a full 16 games in three years. They scooped up a nice pick in Joshua Dobbs at the draft but he needs time to develop. Kaepernick would be the ideal backup for the injury-prone Big Ben.
What makes Kaepernick such a nice fit is the Steelers system. There are not a lot of vertical throws, but instead rocket screens and slants. Throwing to Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant also allows more margin for errant passes. They also have the best running back in football in Le’Veon Bell. In addition to being another threat out of the backfield Bell can also carry the ball 30 times and control the game.
Kaepernick would be the ultimate game manager for the Steelers and make sure they stay afloat if Big Ben goes down again next season. Jones has gotten plenty of chances to plead his case as second-string and has been underwhelming. The Steelers enter the season as one of the favorites to win the AFC. It would be a shame to see it go to waste because Big Ben had to miss a couple games and Jones could not get the job done again.