Was that headline sexy enough? Well, if you’re reading this it got the job done. How’s that for setting the bar high? We all know why you’re here, because we just can’t get enough of the Colin Kaepernick debate. There’s no way major sports media has beaten the subject to death, right? If they have, allow me to be the next in line to swing at the deceased horse.
Much has been made lately of Kaepernick’s job, or lack thereof. As most of us know by now we’re in the third week of NFL free agency and the outspoken quarterback has yet to sign a contract. You’re probably also aware of the running narrative that this is largely in part of owners who are unwilling to sign him due to their dislike of his recent on-field protests.While we can’t dismiss the fact that Kaepernick’s recent media following has made NFL executive’s apprehensive to signing him, it’s not the main reason he is still a free agent. Let’s take a moment to go through the good, the bad, and the overstated ugly of the situation.
While 2016 was a down year for every part of the 49er organization, Kaepernick’s season performance is as misjudged as his employment situation. This is not to say that Kaepernick is the up and coming Hall of Fame Quarterback that ESPN made him out to be just three short years ago. This is saying that Colin Kaepernick was the least of San Francisco’s issues last year. His stat line from 2016 is a humble 2241 passing yards with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions over 11 games started. Cian Fahey of Presnapreads.com is regarded in the industry as a Quarterback aficionado. Fahey shows that in 331 pass attempts over the 2016 season, Colin Kaepernick threw just eight passes were deemed interceptable. We all know that there’s a bottom tier of quarterbacks in the league that can double that in one game, Kaepernick does not fall into that group. If you’re looking for a game manager, you can do much worse than a four-to-one touchdown to interception ratio.
Then there’s the off-field charity work. The most popular of which is Kaepernick’s recent pledge to donate one million dollars to various charities. Details of which can be found at his website kaepernick7.com. At the moment it will show that 400K of the total pledge has already been donated. In addition to that extremely generous amount, there’s the donation of time. Videos have flooded our social media timelines showing him working with children, donating shoes (serious question how many people can actually fit them?), and hosting charitable events. Whichever city Colin may land in will benefit immensely from having such a selfless human being with great means to do good.
At this point Kaepernick’s asking price is that of a starting Quarterback with intention to commit to him. Which narrows his list of suitors to a handful of teams in the league. The issue is the teams that would be a potential fit would rather take their chances in the draft before signing a costly veteran that has no guarantee to be your starter by the time the regular season gets here. Offers to Kaepernick have been the ‘sign and compete’ offers you would see given to journeymen who most people would not expect to start by the time September arrives. The stance taken on both Kaepernick and potential suitor’s sides is nothing surprising. Players want the most they can get, and teams want the best solution at the best cost. Unfortunately for Colin Kaepernick, that means having to wait until teams have had the opportunity to go through the draft.
The ugliest part of Kaepernick’s free agency stint has been the coverage of it. From the biggest media outlets we’ve seen headlines that are blatantly irresponsible and are certainly in the category of click bait. An uneducated outsider might look at the situation and wonder if there’s some sort of blackballing going on in regards to Kaepernick. Those who understand the basics of the salary cap and how free agency works should know better than to push false narratives and over-exaggerate situations.
Now let’s be clear, there has been plenty of negative reaction with members of various NFL team staffs. In addition to some down right disgusting statements about Kaepernick now found all to regularly on social media. Plenty have voiced their opinion’s against the Quarterback’s method of protest in increasingly distasteful ways. It once again seems like the vocal minority overpowers the reasonable majority. While one side asks Kaepernick to stand and respect the flag, the other side asks that we pay attention to the reason he kneels in the first place.
In a perfect world, we wouldn’t feed into the most negative parts of stories just to generate buzz. In this scenario, a small part of a story has become so blown out of proportion that we actually believe NFL executives would rather teach some player a lesson instead of fielding the best team possible. I hate to break it to you guys, but this isn’t some grand conspiracy amongst NFL owners to keep one man out of the league. As much as clever memes omitting truths and activists would like you to believe, Kaepernick isn’t being blackballed. This is just one of those times when not following a situation closely can result in outlandish assumptions that spiral out of control.
I want you all to know that I’m not without reason. If Colin Kaepernick doesn’t have a job by the time training camps come to a close and preseason approaches, I’ll be ready to eat some crow. For now, you’re witnessing the business that is the NFL. Kaepernick will just have to take a spot next to Adrian Peterson and Jay Cutler on the unemployment line and wait for the right situation to call his number.