After some of the quarterback signings that I have witnessed over the past few weeks, it has gotten me thinking about what former San Fransisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, is worth. Well, what is he worth?
Apparently, he isn’t worth more than Mike Glennon, who has done little to nothing in his limited time in the NFL, never starting a full 16 games in a season, but somehow earned himself a starting job on the Chicago Bears on a three-year, $43.5 million deal. I guess he isn’t worth more than Josh McCown, who had one good season with the Bears where he only started eight games but still got signed to the New York Jets, though he will likely end up a backup. And what the hell is up with Chase Daniel? I get it, the guy was a decent college quarterback, but he’s 30 years old now and has started two games in his career where he was mediocre at best. Now, he somehow got signed back to the New Orleans Saints to a reasonable contract as opposed to the three-year, $21 million he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. You’re telling me that all of these quarterbacks possess more talent than Kaepernick? Glennon maybe, but I don’t think that the other two do. The reasons that no team has dared to sign Kaepernick, even if they are actually in the market for a quarterback, are mostly not football related, so let’s take a look at some of these reasons.
For one, and the most important of these reasons is the negative publicity. Whether you support or oppose Kaepernick’s protest last season by kneeling during the national anthem, he was being ridiculed by the media and depicted in a negative light. Because of this protest, NFL ratings started dropping, so teams don’t want to lose any viewers if they signed him. No one wants to have to deal with the circus that comes with signing Kaepernick, so they don’t want to take a chance on him, which I don’t blame them for doing. It can be a distraction to a team and take away from their focus on football.
While I’m on the topic of being a distraction, some teams don’t want to take a chance with Kaepernick because they claim that he is a distraction in the locker room. I don’t believe that he was much of a distraction for the 49ers, but I obviously have never been in that locker room to be able to tell. My one argument that he isn’t a distraction for teams is that his teammates awarded him the Len Eshmont Award, which the player with the most “inspirational and courageous play” wins. The award is voted on amongst teammates, so, for me, that is enough to see that he wasn’t an issue in the locker room.
His vegan diet has been an area of interest lately, which is understandable. Kaepernick has lost a lot of weight over the last couple of years due to injury and his diet, so it is something to look for that can affect his play. I’m no nutritionist, so I can’t tell you exactly how he will be affected, but I know that it’s worth looking at for the future. The smaller he becomes, the more likely it is that he can get hurt from collisions from these 300-pound linemen.
Another issue, and I think the biggest of them all, is his contract demands. Kaepernick is asking for $9 to $10 million which is too much for what most teams are willing to offer. There are, right now, only one or two teams that could use Kaepernick as a starter and those are the Cleveland Browns and the Los Angeles Rams, so no teams are going to offer him what he is asking. The most a team is going to offer him is going to be $3 or $4 million to be a backup quarterback, but it’s obvious that his goal is to come with an opportunity to compete for a starting job. It’s nice to have a decent backup that could come in if your starter goes down, but you don’t want that QB competition on a team because it throws off the dynamics of a team. He actually might be signed to a team already if he wasn’t looking for $10 million.
Coming into this article, I was aiming to defend Kaepernick, but after further exploration and investigation, it is looking pretty clear as to why he hasn’t signed with a team just yet. I would like to see him on a team because he is a talented player that still has a lot of potential moving forward, but he just hasn’t been playing to the level that he needs to, to be a successful starter in the NFL. The upside that he does have is his playoff experience, but if he can’t lead you to the playoffs, then that doesn’t matter.
Kaepernick had a mediocre season in 2016, and I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he didn’t have the weapons around him to lead a successful team, but he hasn’t been anything special. Right now, all he is is a quarterback that thrives off of the broken play, that isn’t accurate inside the pocket, and can’t play well in the second half. Those aren’t exactly qualities you look for in a quarterback if you can even consider him that. He runs the ball but fails to step up when he needs to sit back and pass. He can’t operate a throw first offense successfully, so if you force the guy to throw, then you’re likely going to be able to stop him. At this point, he’s more of a glorified running back that’s allowed to throw the ball during games.
No matter what he is, though, he at least deserves to be a backup quarterback, so if Kaepernick wants to play for a team, he either needs to get in contact with the Rams or Browns or just accept a smaller contract to sit on the bench.