Colin Kaepernick's Future Landing Spot
Where Will Kaepernick End up in 2017?
As you may have read or seen on television, Colin Kaepernick has been in the news since his refusal to stand for the national anthem in a preseason game back in August 2016. Since that time, Colin was able to finish a semi-successful season with a terrible San Francisco 49ers. He finished the season with 2,241 passing yards, 16 touchdowns, a 59.2% completion percentage, and a QBR of 90.7. Those are good stats for any quarterback, let alone a starter who only played in less than a full season on an unexperienced team. That leaves us with the question of why Colin Kaepernick remains unsigned?
At this point, the chances of him signing with a team is getting smaller. With the recent season-ending injury to Miami Dolphins' QB Ryan Tannehill, many in the sport thought Kaepernick would have been an easy solution to their problem. He opted out of his contract in March 2017, making him a free agent. This gives him the opportunity of signing with any of the 32 NFL teams. Initially, he was believed to desire a starting position. The issues with that is that there are only a few teams in need of a starting quarterback. Sure, the Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears, New York Jets, Houston Texans, and Jacksonville Jaguars could all use a new face under center. However, Cleveland (Kizer), Houston (Watson), and Chicago (Trubisky) all drafted a QB in 2017. Jacksonville has brought in new management to help with current signal caller Blake Bortles, a former 1st round pick. This could be Bortles' last season in Jacksonville if there are no signs of improvement. One of the more ideal situations would be the Jets, but owner Woody Johnson has a close relationship with President Trump, so we can just skip over that idea. Jaguars and Jets may be looking forward to the 2018 draft, which looks to be one of the richest fields with many college quarterbacks looking to make the jump to the next level.
In recent weeks, Kaepernick's name has been tossed around in both Baltimore and Miami, with both teams choosing to go elsewhere for their needs. In theory, both of these teams have a good, solid foundation. Baltimore has been arguably one of the most stable franchises since its return. They have handled various player issues extremely well. They did not let the distractions of Ray Lewis or Ray Rice effect the product on the field. However, how wise would it be to bring in a person who is protesting police brutality? In April of 2015, the city of Baltimore was under duress. Over 350 homes and businesses were destroyed and there were millions of dollars worth of damage. Chaos was everywhere. For the safety of players and fans, the Baltimore Orioles hosted the Chicago White Sox in an empty stadium. With the Charm City still rebuilding from these times, it does not make much business sense to bring in someone who may inspire riots once again.
Now we move to Miami. Kaepernick statistically had one of his best games last year against the Dolphins. He threw for 296 yards and three tocuhdowns. Additionally, he also lead all runners in the game with 113 yards rushing. However, Kaepernick famously offended the heavily Cuban populated city while wearing a Fidel Castro t-shirt during an interview. He was accused of being a Castro sympathizer. Many Cuban-Americans were heavily offended, including Miami Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso. Kaepernick tried to clarify his statements on the former Cuban leader, but those sentiments fell on deaf ears. Once again, what is the point to bringing in an athlete who may inspire anger in their fans?
We have seen many football players be given a second (third, fourth) chances. We've seen athletes like Mike Vick, Kenny Britt, Plaxico Burress, Michael Floyd, Nolan Carroll, etc, all have off the field incidents. These players seeming all learned their lesson, and have done what they can to clear their names. But it is not that easy with Kaepernick. He has not broken any laws. By all accounts, he has lived a clean life. He may have offended many people, but he was never arrested. The truth is, what he protested and how he did it offended many people. It hurt the business of teams. Sponsors pulled their money from teams. The NFL is a business, and it is the goal of each team to remain as profitable as possible. When it comes down to it, teams seemingly are afraid of losing income from fans who may stop showing up to the games and revenue from sponsors.
I am a firm believer of second chances. I am also a firm believer in freedom of speech and your right to say whatever you want. However, freedom of speech does not entitle you from the consequences. As for second chances, I believe Kaepernick will get a second chance eventually, just not this year, and not in the NFL. He may be wise to take his abilities to the CFL and prove to the NFL owners that he can overcome this controversy.
© 2017 John Brace