Is Colin Kaepernick Being Discriminated Against?

Updated on May 26, 2017

Colin Kaepernick isn't currently on an NFL team and it has many news outlets up in arms. They claim that he is being blackballed because of his political stances and kneeling for the national anthem. I don't think this is actually the case, at least not yet.

Kaepernick has been battling injuries over the last few seasons, and frankly, he just hasn't played very well.

There are probably some teams in the league that will refuse to sign Kaepernick at all, but I also think that has more to do with his play than his protest. If he was as good as Tom Brady and was in the same position, every single team would be lined up to sign him. Let's start by looking at which teams would actually be interested in Kaepernick.

AFC South

Houston Texans- He could make the Texans really good, however, I think they are holding out for Tony Romo. If Romo retires or signs with another team, I think Kaepernick could make the Texans a legitimate Super Bowl contending team, because all they are is a competent quarterback away from being just that.

Indianapolis Colts- No chance. They have Andrew Luck and wouldn't want to pay a backup the money Kaepernick is looking for.

Jacksonville Jaguars- I actually think that this would be a solid place for him to land, however with a new staff, they may want to give Blake Bortles one more chance

Tennessee Titans- they have their quarterback situation figured on it with Marcus Mariota.


AFC North

Baltimore Ravens- Joe Flacco is their quarterback, he isn’t going anywhere unless he decides he wants to go.

Cleveland Browns- The Browns do need a quarterback, and this could be a landing spot for Kaepernick, but if I was him, I wouldn’t want to go to Cleveland.

Cincinnati Bengals- Even with Andy Dalton’s postseason struggles, the Bengals are not even close to moving on from him. They have a decent team and Dalton will be there for quite some time.

Pittsburg Steelers- There have been talks of Ben Roethlisberger hanging up his cleats and retiring, but he is just 35 years old, and I think he has quite a bit left. Especially the way the NFL protects the quarterbacks in the game today. However, if Ben retires I think you could put Kaepernick in that system and have a very fast and lethal offense.

Could Kaepernick join all those names?
Could Kaepernick join all those names? | Source

AFC East

Buffalo Bills- The Bills have Tyrod Taylor, and where there is still a lot of doubt on if he is the quarterback of the future, he and Kaepernick play very similar styles. I don’t see the Bills wanting to pay Kaepernick “starter” money to have another version of what they have.

Miami Dolphins- Ryan Tannehill was having a decent year this year, before getting hurt and missing the final three games of the season. As of right now, he has played well enough to be their future.

New England Patriots- The Patriots have Tom Brady, of course he is going to be forty years old, but he doesn’t appear to be slowing down, I mean, did you watch the Super Bowl? They also have Jimmy Garropolo, who appeared to have said goodbye to the Patriots on his Instagram a few weeks ago, doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. The Pats have their quarterback situation set.

New York Jets- The Jets are another interesting team. They don’t really have a starter option right now, as they just signed long term backup Josh McCown. They seem to be rebuilding, but don’t expect the Jets to sign Kaepernick as the owner, Woody Johnson, came out against Kaepernick when he first took his stand…or kneel.


AFC West

Denver Broncos- The Broncos have a couple young quarterbacks that they have drafted over the last couple years, and they really seem to like Trevor Siemian. The Broncos are kind of like the Texans, where they seem to be waiting on Romo, but the big difference is they have competence at the position already.

Kansas City Chiefs- Love him or hate him, Alex Smith is the quarterback in Kansas City, and he does a very good job at putting his team in the best position. Notably, Smith lost his position in San Francisco to Kaepernick the year they went to the Super Bowl. However, I don’t see that happening again.

Oakland Raiders- Derek Carr is quickly becoming one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL. There is absolutely no way the Raiders sign Kaepernick.

Los Angeles Chargers- Phillip Rivers may be getting old, but he is still slinging the ball around the yard just as well as the next guy. This is another spot that Kaepernick will NOT end up.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons- Matt Ryan just had one of the great years in NFL history, and Kaepernick isn’t nearly on the same level.

Carolina Panthers- Cam Newton just had shoulder surgery. He is supposed to be back in time for the season, but if the Panthers need a quarterback with a similar style of play as his backup, this could be a great place for Kaepernick to land. However, he will have to be willing to take backup money.

New Orleans Saints- Drew Brees wants to play into his forties and I think he can. The Saints may be looking for Brees’ replacement in the draft, but I don’t expect them to pay a backup quarterback a ton of money.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Jameis Winston is the future in Tampa. This isn’t a realistic landing spot for Kaepernick. Again, he could go as a backup, but he would have to take a pay cut, and I’m not sure that he will want to do that.


NFC North

Chicago Bears- The Bears just signed Mike Glennon to a pretty sizeable deal. They won’t be paying another quarterback like that as well. However, I think this may be the signing that has people up in arms about Kaepernick not having a job. I think it’s the unknown that is keeping people interested in Glennon. He played during his rookie year and had a pretty successful time. Then Lovie Smith became the coach, and brought his own quarterback with him, Josh McCown. Then Jameis Winston was available and they had to take him. We know what Kaepernick is, and over the past few years, it hasn’t been all that good.

Detroit Lions- Matt Stafford is a stud, the Lions aren’t even thinking about Kaepernick.

Green Bay Packers- Are like the Lions, but better.

Minnesota Vikings- I think the Vikings could be an interesting landing spot for Kaepernick as it appears Teddy Bridgewater will probably miss all of this year too. They would, however, need to find a trade for Sam Bradford to free up cap space and I’m not sure too many teams will want to Bradford in either.

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys- Dak Prescott is the quarterback of the future for the Cowboys, there is no reason for them to bring in Kaepernick

New York Giants- Eli Manning is the Giants quarterback until he decides he doesn’t want to be anymore, and that’s going to be at least five more years, I would think. Geno Smith just signed as a backup here, which is another reason people are upset about Kaepernick not having a job. It’s not that simple. Kaepernick still wants to start, he doesn’t look at himself like Smith.

Philadelphia Eagles- The Eagles believe in Carson Wentz, who started off really well last year, but kind of fell apart as the year went on, as rookies do. However, I don’t think they are ready to quit on him, at all.

Washington- Washington isn’t going to trade Cousins, at least not this year. He had a great statistically year last year, and I expect the same from him this coming year. This isn’t going to be a place for Kaepernick.

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals- Carson Palmer is still the quarterback in Arizona, and even though it seemed like he took a step back last year from the year before, he still had a good year. This isn’t the year for Kaepernick in Arizona.

Los Angeles Rams- If I was the Rams I would want Kaepernick. He can play, and it doesn’t look like Jerad Goff can. However, it is still very early for Goff as he didn’t get to start until halfway through the year. They will likely want to give him at couple years to see how he grows.

San Francisco 49ers- Kaepernick opted out of his contract here. I don’t think either side of that marriage was happy, and I don’t see them reuniting.

Seattle Seahawks- I think this would be a fantastic place for Kaepernick to go to as a backup. He would have to be willing to take a pay cut, but I think he would benefit a lot by working out with Russell Wilson and focusing on his accuracy again. Also, he and Wilson have a very similar play style, it would be a good fit should anything happen to Wilson.


Let’s recap. Out of the 32 teams where Kaepernick could wind up a starter, there are four to six teams: Texans, Jaguars, Browns, Broncos, and Vikings. I placed the Vikings last, because in order for that to happen, they’d need to move Bradford. He could also end up a backup, well anywhere, but the most likely locations would be Seattle, Tampa Bay, and Carolina.

We are just two weeks into the NFL Free Agency, the idea that Kaepernick is being blackballed by the entire NFL is actually absurd. If we get to July and he still isn’t signed anywhere I think we can start having that discussion. I’m not saying that I don’t think that some teams have completely taken him off their board and there is no way he’ll end up on their team, but I don’t think that’s a large part of the league.

I think it would be naïve to think that none of the team’s main reason for not signing Kaepernick is because of the stance he took last season; however, I think the vast majority of the league are also not in position to take a starting quarterback. Also, according the Ryen Russillo, from the Russillo and Kanell show on ESPN Radio, Kaepernick is wanting to be patient and find the right fit for him. He spent a long-time Thursday night on the phone with executives and people in the know trying to figure out this whole situation.

If I was a betting man, Kaepernick will be signed before the season starts. I’m not sure if he’ll be a starter where he signs, because if I was him, I’d go to Seattle to backup Wilson.

I agree with everything Kaepernick has done, from protesting to donating his time and money to all of the causes he supports. I will be very upset if he doesn’t have a job by the start of the season, and probably believe that he is being blackballed. However, I am upset with many of these news outlets suggesting that the reason he doesn’t have a job, two weeks into free agency is because of his political protests. I am also upset with the other side that says he is only giving up on his protest because he is no longer employed. He CHOSE to be unemployed, he opted out of his contract to find a team that is better suited for him. It seems that the media tends to paint in black and white with a very wide brush.


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    • profile image

      Wild Bill 

      13 months ago

      He's not worth the baggage. Case closed

    • Josh Ratzburg profile imageAUTHOR

      Josh Ratzburg 

      20 months ago from Indianapolis, IN

      I would argue that he did nothing to the troops, and to think he did is foolish. He never protested the military like sports icons in the past.

    • dohn121 profile image


      20 months ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      It looks like you did your homework on this matter as you reviewed each and every NFL team based on their need of a Colin Kaepernick on their squad. Understand the following: Adrian Peterson was brought back after his switch incident with his son and so was Michael Vick after spending two years away from the NFL for dog fighting (one year was spent in jail). They returned to playing for the NFL afterwards based not on their character but on their God-given ability to play the game of football at a very high level. The point is that they put butts in seats, i.e. sell out games and garner the attention of the public eye in a lucrative manner.

      First and foremost, the NFL is a billion-dollar business. Some of their mediocre games get higher Nielsen ratings than World Series games. The most important thing the NFL owns is their brand: The NFL shield. What their players do whilst wearing that shield is a big deal. It has nothing to do with the first amendment, racial descrimination, or hatred towards any given one player. It has to do with business and the business on the NFL is making money. The U.S. Armed Forces pays and great deal of money to the NFL in order for the NFL to propangandized the troops in Afghanistan and abroad. Colin Kaepernick's act of defiance is simply bad for business, as it compromises the relationship between the U.S. Armed Forces (the NFL's client) and the NFL as a whole.

      Unfortunately, Kaepernick's next job might be in the CFL as of right now, he just carries way too much luggage and his play as of late, is suspect at best. Only time will tell.

    • Josh Ratzburg profile imageAUTHOR

      Josh Ratzburg 

      20 months ago from Indianapolis, IN

      I just think it's a bit too early to start making all these accusations. Are some teams completely done with him? Sure. But I think by training camp he'll have a job.

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 

      20 months ago from Auburn, WA

      I do believe he's being blackballed to some extent. I have supported his right to protest, however much I may disagree with it. I actually think many media members have been pretty fair to him, but there are others (more well-connected) who tow the party line. Those who get their "scoops" from GMs, etc. They parrot NFL propaganda. That's when you hear things like "he's a cancer in the locker room" or "lazy", etc.

      But if he had the skills of Brady, that would not matter. Eventually, GMs and owners (and coaches) get over "issues" pretty quickly. If OJ could still play, there would be a personnel guy waiting for him when he gets out next year. :)

      Your Seattle idea may not be far off since Boykin's arrest last night. But the majority of Hawks fans come from outside the City and are very conservative. We have a large military presence in Western WA as well. I wonder how that would go over.


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