The NFL can be such a fickle league and Colin Kaepernick is no exception having not played a single down since the 2016 season.
Now that Kaepernick’s won his case against the NFL, there are still no takers in the free agent market for his talents. To understand why, let’s first look at what the man’s done in his career and for the interest of fairness, I’ll include seasons where the QB played 10 games or more.
In six years in the league, Kaepernick’s thrown for 12,271 yards, 72 touchdowns, 30 interceptions, with a career passing completion average of 59.8 percent and a rating of 88.9.
Taking out Kaepernick’s rookie season in 2011, 2012 and 2015, he averages 2,935 yards, 17 TDs, 7 INTs, and a 59.4 percent completions. He also rushed for 1,631 yards for 7 TDs.
In his final season, Kaepernick took a knee in protest, at the suggestion of a military veteran, during the National Anthem played before each game’s start. The protest, which was to promote equal social justice, garnered mixed reactions. While a number of players, teams, and coaches supported the former San Francisco 49ers QB in making a similar gesture, others were erupted in anger at the perceived disrespect to what the song and flag represents. Among the supporters is Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who still very much has a job.
When Kaepernick decided to test the free agent market in 2017, there were no takers. Same in 2018. Going into the 2019 season, despite his victory against the NFL, teams still aren’t buying.
While there have been interest among a couple of teams, they ultimately decided to pass on him. Some say Kaepernick priced himself out, demanding $20 million, which is starters’ money. He hasn’t waivered and since the start of his protest, he still became active in philanthropy despite fines from the NFL and two years of unemployment.
You think after two seasons, Kaepernick might be a bit more flexible. With plenty of off-season to go, there’s still plenty of time to negotiate a new deal, but given his past availability, it’s not likely to change. Let’s look at a couple of other talents who fell out of the league.
Josh Freeman played six seasons in the NFL, primarily for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, from 2009-2013. He landed with the Minnesota Vikings in 2013, didn’t play in 2014 and played his last NFL season with the Indianapolis Colts in 2015. In his three fuller seasons with the Bucs, he amassed 11,108 passing yards, 68 TDs, 45 INTs, and an 84.0 QB rating. That’s an average of 3,703 yards, 23 TDs. 15 INTs, and 59.7 completion percentage. Freeman rushed for 741 yards and four TDs in his time with the Bucs.
In comparing the two, Kaepernick averaged far fewer yards, despite being a much bigger running threat, two fewer TDs, nearly halves Freeman’s INTs and about the same in passing accuracy. Yet despite these numbers, two other teams gave Freeman a chance in starting, but no other teams take a chance on Kaepernick.
Another controversial QB is Michael Vick, who played 13 in a 15 year-span for the Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers. Not accounting for the injury-shortened season in 2003 and his rookie season in 2001, Vick passed for 14,628 yards, which comes to average of 3,657 per full season; 65 TDs averaging 16 TDs per season; 46 INTs averaging 11.5 INTs per season; 54.8 percent completion percentage average; and average QB rating of 77.1. Vick rushed for 3,315 yards and 19 TDs, which averages out to 828.75 yards and 5 TDs a season.
Kaepernick was never the running threat Vick was since in four seasons, Vick has 1,000 additional yards and 6 more TDs compared to Kaepernick’s fuller seasons. After time served in incarceration for his involvement in a dog-fighting ring, Vick resumed his career for seven more seasons before playing his final down in 2015 when the Eagles gave him a chance. Kaepernick is a more accurate passer, but passed for fewer yards and two fewer scores.
Kaepernick committed no crimes, but he’s still being punished by the league despite the suggestion of a veteran to the form of protest. NFL owners sooner punish a selfless, but otherwise model employee and instead provide second chances to people who are far less outspoken and those incarcerated for serious crimes. If teams gave Freeman and Vick second chances, then Kaepernick deserves one as well. Hell, Tim F****** played for three seasons in the NFL and had a chance on three different teams before the NFL quit on him and he’s the low bar for exceptionalism.
The case is settled. Kaepernick did nothing, but ruffle the feathers to a portion of the country, much like Vick ruffled the feathers of many in favor of animal rights. While Vick did his time, we’re still punishing Kaepernick, why?