Joe Thomas asks the key question on Kaepernick

Plenty of people have plenty of opinions about the ongoing unemployment of quarterback Colin Kaepernick. One specific person’s opinion (more accurately, a question) caught my attention.

Browns tackle Joe Thomas had this to say in response to the item posted earlier today by MDS: “Most people can agree [Kaepernick’s] current unemployment is a combination of his anthem protest and his declining play, which is playing more into it?”

It’s a question raised earlier this week on PFT Live (the poll question appears below), and it gets to the heart of what’s happening with Kaepernick. If he were regarded as being as good as Tom Brady, Kaepernick already would be under contract; indeed, his 2014 contract with the 49ers never would have been restructured and he’d still be the starting quarterback there. (And Trent Baalke would still be the G.M. And Jim Tomsula or Chip Kelly would still be the head coach.) If Kaepernick were viewed as having no football abilities at all, the political aspects wouldn’t matter.

The problem seems to be that Kaepernick’s perceived skills currently fall into the gray area that prompts teams (owners, General Managers, coaches, whoever) to conclude that the baggage outweighs the bang. Otherwise, Kaepernick would have a job somewhere right now, either as the starting quarterback or at least in position to compete to be the starter.

The proof that he falls into the more-trouble-than-he’s-worth category comes from the manner in which Kaepernick was treated a year ago. Multiple teams were willing to trade for him, if he’d simply reduce the $12 million in fully-guaranteed base salary he was due to make in 2016. The Broncos, who steadfastly refuse to give up anything for Tony Romo now, were willing to trade for Kaepernick. The Browns reportedly were willing to cough up a third-round pick and to pay Kaepernick $7 million or $8 million for one year.

That interest came at a time when Kaepernick was recovering from not one nor two but three offseason surgeries. Surgeries that resulted in weight loss that kept him behind Blaine Gabbert for the first five games of the season.

So what has happened in the past year, other than Kaepernick embarking on a highly polarizing political position that landed his image on the cover of Time and his name on the lips of every NFL fan and millions of drive-by Super Bowl commercial watchers? Kaepernick started 11 games for a horrible team in a new offensive system, generating numbers that were far from horrible.

As a passer, Kaepernick completed nearly 60 percent of his passes, averaging 6.8 yards per attempt and throwing 16 touchdown passes against four interceptions. His passer rating was 90.7 — his highest such number since signing his long-term deal after the 2013 season.

As a runner, Kaepernick averaged 42.5 yards per game and 6.8 yards per attempt. Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor, the leading rusher among quarterbacks in 2016, averaged 38.6 yards per game, in 15 starts.

Speaking of Taylor, his numbers for the year were comparable to Kaepernick’s. Completion percentage: 61.7. Average per attempt: 6.9 yards. Passer rating: 89.7. Touchdowns to interceptions: 17 to 6. Average per rush: 6.1 yards.

Taylor emerged from the season with a two-year, $30.5 million contract to remain with the Bills despite an overhaul to the coaching staff. The Bills, with former Broncos offensive coordinator Rick Dennison now on board, presumably could have had Kaepernick for considerably less than that. And Dennison comes from one of the teams that was ready to trade for Kaepernick a year ago.

Which brings me back to the Browns. A year ago, they wanted him. Now, after a season with a two-win team in an offense new to him while recovering from three surgeries with numbers that compare to those generated by Tyrod Taylor (a guy in whom the Browns reportedly were interested), the Browns want nothing to do with Kaepernick.

There are two possible explanations for this. One, the Browns are being the Browns, again. Two, Browns ownership wants nothing to do with Kaepernick.

Given that the Browns wanted Kaepernick a year ago, and in light of how he performed a year ago, Door No. 2 is a fair response.

Beyond Cleveland, it’s fair to ask why other teams see nothing in a guy in whom multiple teams saw something a year ago. The Broncos don’t want him. The Jets don’t want him. The Texans apparently don’t want him. The Bills, who could have had him for less than Taylor, didn’t want him. The Bears, who are paying Mike Glennon $15 million per year (it’s still not clear whom they were bidding against), didn’t want him.

While Kaepernick may not currently be better than 20 starting quarterbacks in the NFL, he’s a better option for multiple teams than what they currently have. Which means that his ongoing unemployment absolutely, positively is more about politics than football.

So, Joe, there’s your answer. And if you hope to have a shot at finally getting to the postseason, maybe it’s time to start publicly pushing for Kaepernick as the alternative to Cody Kessler, Kevin Hogan, anyone else available via free agency, or any of the rookies in the 2017 draft.

151 responses to “Joe Thomas asks the key question on Kaepernick

  1. Kaepernick is a pariah and a distraction for any football team. Personal politics is not something any club wants on display before the team and its mission. Let’ em eat cake.

  2. The Browns currently have a struggling vet QB as a backup. Until something happens with Osweiler, the job is not open.

  3. My opinion it’s a combination of both. His on field play is only ok but couple that with the baggage of the political stuff makes him unsignable. No team wants to take on a headache for a mediocre qb even as a backup.

  4. Or maybe it’s a question about his smarts? He knelt during the anthem to protest oppression and at his presser explaining it, wore a castro t-shirt. He wore socks to practice with pigs dressed as cops, and he walked away from $15mm to hit FA.

    Not only is he a bad QB he’s also kind of dumb.

  5. Most of the fans disagree, but it’s absolutely about politics.
    In fact, more than politics, it is about perception.
    NFL teams don’t want the negative publicity of being seen as supporting Kaepernick’s stance by the public.
    What is funny is Jed York publicly supported Kap’s right to protest, but I guess the overall fanbase’s general antipathy to the owner deflected criticism that might have otherwise come his way for supporting Kap.

    Perception indeed is reality.

  6. He was in sharp decline before his political grandstanding. He came back from surgery a vegan and twenty pounds lighter than his former playing weight. He then went on to have another less than stellar year. Maybe the NFL’s front office people think this is the real Kap. If so, then he’s not worth it.

  7. Krapernick is trash. All his stats came in the first half of games. He disappears in the 3rd and 4th q. His qbr and td/int are a joke . Most fans just see his stats and think he’s great. Look a little deeper and you’ll see his stats are meaningless 1st and 2nd quarter stats while choking in the 3rd and 4th q. of every game for a rec of 1-11. I’m a niners fan. I watch every game. Don’t let his stats confuse you. He can’t finish a game strong. He always chokes. So glad he’s gone. Overhyped backup.

  8. It’s not rocket science Joe. He’s getting shut out for kneeling. He’s a better QB than anything y’all got on y’all roster too. Only white supremacists, football nerds, pats fans believe otherwise.

  9. Kaepernick threw for 400 yds last season. Mark Sanchez did not, and was just signed by an NFL team. You figure it out.

  10. The fact that he doesn’t currently have a job proves that everything he’s said about this country and some of its people is true. He’s very clearly one of the 64 best quarterbacks out there yet he doesn’t have a job. I used to really hate this guy before he started speaking truth to power and putting a mirror in these scumbags faces to show them what racist bigots they truly are.

  11. “The Broncos, who steadfastly refuse to give up anything for Tony Romo now, were willing to trade for Kaepernick.”

    The Broncos not trading for Romo has little to do with talent and more to do with them calling Jerruh’s bluff. They know Romo will eventually get released, and Elway isn’t going to lose a chess match with Jerruh. As for this poll, I didn’t vote. Much like Tim Tebow, it’s a combination of both. Tebow and Kaep are/were good enough to at least be a backup, but aren’t good enough to justify the distractions.

  12. “While Kaepernick may not currently be better than 20 starting quarterbacks in the NFL, he’s a better option for multiple teams than what they currently have. Which means that his ongoing unemployment absolutely, positively is more about politics than football.”

    This last sentence is not true. I mean, I wouldn’t hire him if I were a GM, but saying that his political protests are “positively” the reason is a little bit of an overstatement… you’ve got the draft, other free agents, etc. There are a lot of possibilities out there besides Kap. Some of those possibilities might be better or fit better with the scheme that you run, etc.

    Sure, the protests are a big factor, but it’s not like he isn’t competing for a job in a very competitive market…there are other players who might just be better fit or better risks than Kap. I’m not so sure that “He protested” is “positively” the reason he doesn’t have a job. It could be that his competition for the job is better or that GMs have seen what he has and it isn’t that great…

  13. Good article Mike. It’s basic a** math that Colin is being blackballed. Thanks for laying it out. (Not that I have much faith the pro-Trump/Kaep is a traitor crowd will accept factual evidence.)

  14. It is not just a matter of political views and football skills. There are other factors as well. QB is a de facto team leader. His behavior plays a role as well. Much of what he said was politically motivated but the manner in which he said it showed his ignorance and lack of awareness on the issues. Look at when the protest stuff started. It was soon after he realized he would not be the starter. In essence, it was a publicity stunt and a form of passive-aggressive temper tantrum. Those are not personality or behavioral traits that team owners, coaches, and GMs want on their teams.

    His baggage (declining play, behavioral, political, personality issues) outweigh his benefits. He is not the kind of guy the decision makers want influencing their teams. What exactly is the issue?

    Yes, I am aware my declining play statement is contrary to what the article lists. To that, I say this…go watch some video of him in action last year. It looked far worse than those stats would indicate.

  15. Maybe it’s more about price? No! That would be too easy of an explanation. Let’s just stir the pot and make it political.

  16. Maybe it’s because he’s always been annoying and everyone finally realized it. He is the qb of a “professional” team. Which is almost like the CEO of a corporation and he shows up to press conferences with giant headphones around his neck. Give me a break Kap is almost 30 yrs old, how much bass does he need?

  17. Cutler is also still unemployed, and he didn’t say people in Cuba are are oppressed less than people in the US, show his distain for law enforcement by wearing pig socks or take a stand by not voting.

  18. A. It’s foolish to use the Browns as a point of comparison for any team.

    B. It should not surprise you that teams consider audience appeal in a market-driven economy.

  19. Mike, I believe your exhaustive analysis misses a subtle but key point.

    Aside from the obvious, the anthem protest AND his diet raise questions about his predictability and reliability. These are two cases where he placed himself above the team – what will he do next that either interferes with the team or his preparation?

  20. Teams want a leader ON THE FIELD as well as a good performer. Kaepernick alienated many of his team mates and was a distraction from the goal of putting a unified team on the field.

    No business owner wants an employee to parade a divisive political opinion around the company or workplace. Freedom of Speech only protects your speech from the Federal Government censoring it. Private businesses don’t have to provide a platform for your political views.

  21. You left-wing Democratic party ‘reporters‘ helped to ruin Kap .. his protests fed into y’alls talkin-points and you idiots ran it 24/7.

    Want “The proof”? You now feel so guilty about the way you used Kap that you can’t shut-up about his unemployment now…almost another 24/7 going on.

    Tell the truth…he’s an ISIS supporting left-wing activist now, and their are no NFL jobs for such skills.

  22. Let me see… last year you weren’t willingly to restructure your contract to make less money to play for another team. This year you’re unemployed and wonder why those same teams aren’t making an offer to you. Simply look to last year!

  23. He is a backup quality QB who proved to be the biggest distraction in the NFL. Even a losing team like Cleveland does not need a player using his moment in the limelight to disrespect the nation that gave him his chance. Some people are stupid. Then there are guys like Kaep that go out and howl at the moon.

  24. If he was playing great then people would love him anyway if he was a complete bum that had never accomplished anything we would have never heard of his protest.

    It’s still about football.

  25. Don’t care. The guy doesn’t play well enough to warrant the obsessive media coverage he’s receives. I don’t fault Kaepenick for reporters chasing the easy, low-hanging fruit…but enough already.

  26. Teams also know how much money he wants and he ain’t worth it especially if you go off his play. He opted out of his deal not to take less money but more.

  27. The ONLY thing that his current unemployment proves is that he is clearly far more trouble than he’s worth. Whether that’s because of his salary demands, because of the distractions, or some combination of the two really doesn’t matter. This isn’t some sort of aberration -it’s the reality of gainful employment for all of us.

  28. Well stated. Anyone talking out of the other side of their mouth on this issue is full of it. You barely have 10 decent QBs in the league. The guy shouldn’t only be on a roster but he should be penciled in as someone’s stopgap day one starter at the very least.

  29. If Kaep played at a high level, he’d be playing. Period.

    BUT…..the lefties cannot help themselves from shin-kicking the right….constantly & all the time.

    Who wants an “athletic” QB who is a 1 read & run, who lost muscle-mass due to being a vegan?

    Nobody.

  30. so let me get this straight: Kaep has the right to express his freedoms but Owners do not have rights to express their freedoms?

  31. Kaep did what he did (which I applauded), but now he has to face the music. That’s life.

    Just don’t tell me Johnny Manziel deserves to be forgiven and signed first.

  32. Listening to Russillo and Kanell yesterday it seems Russillo spent his entire evening Thursday doing nothing but, contacting all NFL teams about Kap. Evidently, it is Kaepernick and HIS people that are opting to wait for him to get a deal. They are looking for a lower base deal with incentives based on player marks achieved. They are also waiting to see if a starter gets hurts ala’ Teddy Bridgewater. That said. Russillo did say most of the league said play. A couple did acknowledge his stance. He said the Jets are a NO. All of that said. Also, he said do not count out Houston provided Romo does not go there. Also, on a side note. Everybody bringing up EJ Manuel, Geno Smith, Mark Sanchez, etc. You do realize those guys signed for like $1 million dollars or less? Kap’s folks are NOT taking that kind of low money.

  33. It’s almost too bad the NFL Europe doesn’t still exist.

    Set up a franchise in Palestine or Pakistan, let Kaep rehab his image over there, and be grateful to come back to America.

  34. The owners have every right to blackball this guy.

    He excercised his right to free speech. Good for him. But the owners have every right to not hire him.

    God Bless America.

  35. It’s politics and there’s nothing wrong with that. CK voluntarily brought politics to the his game thus it’s perfectly reasonable for the owners to do the same in his case.

  36. Coaches probably don’t care about players political interests until they interfere with the dynamics of the team and locker room. No coach wants a cancer on his team and that could happen if Kap is on your roster.

  37. nesby2 says:

    Kaep is being black balled PERIOD!!!
    ==============================

    Good. I wouldn’t want him if he were the best quarterback in NFL history.

  38. it’s clearly the politics…. he insulted a large portion of the American public in order to protest the American flag which was clearly the wrong target… and his example created problems with numerous other players

    AND he did it on his employers dime which would have gotten him fired on the spot from just about any other job in America

    if he had done some type of protest on his own time and respected the team… he would be at least a backup now in spite of his declining play

  39. God Bless Kaepernick for having the right to do what he did, But God Bless me for having the right to express that I thought what he did was wrong. We learn early in life there are consequences for our actions, Good or Bad. This is one of those times.

  40. Krapernicks overrated stats came in the first half of the games and always choked in the 2nd half of the games. That’s why he was 1-11. Should be 0-12, but got lucky against the mighty rams. Lmao at all the clowns mentioning his td/int qbr. It’s obvious you sjw’s didn’t watch his games. Otherwise you’d know his stats came in the first and second quarter and completely choked in the 3rd and 4th q all season except one game against the mighty rams. Krapernick is a joke and the worst qb in the NFL. Watch his games and you’ll see why he lost 10 games in a row. He couldn’t score any points in the second half of any games. Can’t finish games . He always choked. don’t buy into the silly hype about his “amazing td int” ratio. And his dink and dunk qbr with horrendous completion percentage. Forget about the paper stats and watch his games. He’s awful. Has nothing to do with his protest. So glad he’s not a niner anymore. We can finally start winning some games.

  41. Hasn’t been any good at all since the departure of Harbaugh. Even if he never kneeled there wouldn’t be much interest in his services.

  42. the NFL wants to see players at charity events , working with kids , at Hospitals ETC. something in a good light. no one is bigger than the game,and it comes with a price when you take matter into you own hands.

  43. Kaepernick, Kaepernick, Kaepernick. Personally, I wish you wouldn’t mention him ever again. Who cares about him? He could fall off the earth and I wouldn’t even blink.

  44. Every so often the owners are able to agree.. This isn’t about one team not wanting him. Suddenly the entire league has turned it’s back on him. I don’t like him and he brought this on himself but let’s not pretend this isn’t a bit of a gentlemen’s agreement to keep Kaepernick from being successful on field after his antics..

  45. He’s worth about 2-3 mil a season to teams. He thinks he should get 8-10. Hence the stand still. Now if he were a better employee and had the quiet cool clam of most employed backups in the league…he would be on a team right now.

  46. Last two seasons, Squidward has split the position with Gabbert. Over that period, Squid is 3-16, Gabbert is 4-9. The 49ers averaged 22 points per game under Gabbert, 17 under Kaepernick.

    Better question would be WHY ISN’T GABBERT SIGNED. He’s 2 years younger and all about football.

  47. Sorry, but if I’m a business (NFL) owner, then I get to decide who I want to pay millions of dollars to be the face of my company (team). If I am concerned about that person pissing off half of my customers (fans), then I would likely choose not to employ that person.

  48. Kap is not the answer for the Browns, they need to draft a qb, this year or next. Kessler played well when given the opportunity, and made good decisions behind a bad line. Why would they waste time and money on Kap? It has nothing to do with race, they tried to get Taylor. Kap is a low end starter/good back up that wants too much money, and dosent put his team first. As a browns fan, no I don’t want him. Let Kessler get some experience, take a shot on a rookie qb this year and if that dosent work out try for Darnold or Rosen next year. Kessler had 6TDs 2INts and a 92.3 qb rating last year as a rookie I limited action, he deserves a longer look more than Kap

  49. Kaepernick never protested the American Flag.. He was protesting police brutality. The fact that so many seems to have a problem with that speaks volumes about the racial climate in this country. And btw, many, many US soldiers agree with his protest.

  50. Being a leader and good role model is part of being a QB. When I say Kaep is a bad QB, I mean both his playing and his politics. The two are related.

  51. thorsmark says:
    Mar 25, 2017 1:35 PM
    It’s politics and there’s nothing wrong with that. CK voluntarily brought politics to the his game thus it’s perfectly reasonable for the owners to do the same in his case.

    Well, it’s not immoral for GMs to decide that CK’s politics disqualify him for a job. But it’s also reasonable to ask them if that really is their thinking. Or whether it’s a situation where his play doesn’t merit a tryout.

    Consider the situations of Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson. Both had domestic violence scandals. One was drummed out of the league. The other was welcomed back. It seems like the difference was that Rice had already declined to a point where he was useless anyway. (Peterson might well be at that point now.)

    GMs have an amazing capacity to turn a blind eye to non-football related issues for players that they feel can significantly help them win games.

  52. Although politics may be playing a part, as well as personality, I think teams are losing their fad for scrambling QBs. There’s just too much injury risk and likelihood of a shorter career because once they lose a step as they age a scrambler is toast.

    Hence why 9ers/Warner tried to retrain Kaep. Trouble is, Kaep (like a lot of scramblers) aren’t usually the uber tactical generals that pocket passers can be but have succeeded to the draft by using their athleticism. That’s fine in college, but doesn’t work so well in the NFL as something to build a long-term successful franchise around.

  53. troyrisby says:
    Mar 25, 2017 2:22 PM

    Kaepernick never protested the American Flag.. He was protesting police brutality. The fact that so many seems to have a problem with that speaks volumes about the racial climate in this country. And btw, many, many US soldiers agree with his protest.
    ——————————–

    Kaepernick disrespected the flag and all those who spilled blood both for it, and their families and friends. The fact that many remain so terribly confused about the real substance of the issues and how to address them productively speaks volumes regarding the quality of the opinions in this country. The enormous amount of soldiers who take exception to his actions absolutely eclipses the few who do not.

  54. Though many disagree with him utilizing his NFL platform for a political purpose, it generated exactly the publicity he imagined. Some people rather stand for what they believe in rather than not because it gives him a satisfaction money nor success can achieve. With that being said he should have another opportunity because he isn’t bad and is way more talented than at least half of the starting quarterbacks in the league.

  55. I do think there is a healthy dose of politics involved BUT, the difference between last year and now is that the Broncos seem to have their eye on Romo (and he WILL be available at some point) and the Browns seem to have their eye on Garoppolo. If he doesn’t land a gig after these situations are resolved I think it would be more significant.

  56. It’s a shame that what he was attempting to put a spotlight on became a man hating America. But the thing is the NFL is a private business, they can hire whomever they want, you don’t get a job just because you have talent. No team wants to be involved in a PR nightmare or constant attacks/ threats from the crazy people. The current President of the United States has basically publicly threatened to shame and attack any team that hires him. Why would anybody want that headache and extra costs that will come with the threats to provide peace of mind to all franchise employees and fans. It’s just not worth it to hire him when he isn’t a superstar game changer.

  57. simplec72 says:
    Mar 25, 2017 1:00 PM
    Let me see… last year you weren’t willingly to restructure your contract to make less money to play for another team. This year you’re unemployed and wonder why those same teams aren’t making an offer to you. Simply look to last year
    ——————————

    Plus he played the system in a way that tied his GMs hands to deal with Kaep’s declining value. No GM ever wants to get played like that so the safest thing for all of them is to just keep their distance. A GM now would have to be 100% sure Kaep is going to work out in order to think that signing him isnt a big irreversable risk.

  58. His inability to read defenses is what has him unemployed-there will always be morons crying blackballed and other nonsense-quite simply this dude is not a starting NFL QB and is not willing to sign for anything less.

  59. troyrisby says:
    Mar 25, 2017 2:22 PM
    Kaepernick never protested the American Flag.. He was protesting police brutality.

    ———————-

    Thats kind of splitting hairs. He said he couldn’t respect the flag if a country that had such racism in its police departments. (He referred to the racism that led to brutality more than the brutality itself). Im in that group that thinks he does have a point about the problem that needs to be addressed but the way he went about it was totally wrong. The same with the pig socks. If he truly understood that issue he would have better understood what was wrong with his message. The same with him thinking Castro was a symbol against oppression. It had the look that he cared little about any of these causes (hence why he apoeared to know little) they were just buzzwords for stunts designed to manipulate things around him. This appearance is bolstered by how when he needed to manipulate the other way he was suddenly willing to stand. For gosh sure if he actually cared he would have voted.

    As someone very concerned about racism in this country I was offended at seeing him use the cause for his own purposes that way. I feel he undermined it.

    And on the field he just isnt that good and declining. Thats my statement as a football fan.

  60. What is the mystery here? You can’t suck at football AND be a distraction at the same time. Everybody understands the trade off every professional team makes. Greg Hardy is a substantially more talented player than Kap, but he will never play again because his off the field issues are completely unacceptable. If Kap was actually good, teams would have interest. They won’t pay him millions to not play or play poorly and take the PR hit.

  61. First my only problem with Kaepernicks political stance was he had never been active in the community before that. If you’re going to criticize others then you better be active DOING SOMETHING. All his charitable activities came after he spoke out. He was doing nothing for us in the community before. His old teammate LB Brandon Marshall was active helping in the community constantly trying to make a difference. Kaepernick wasn’t doing anything. Kaepernick was right in what he said but was a hypocrite for not caring until last year. The moment he said he never voted I tuned his dumbass out. He grew an Afro and thought that makes him a civil rights activist. It takes work and hadn’t done any but wanted credit for it.

    Second my take is yes it’s in large part political that he isn’t on a team yet. That said he still can’t read defenses & has issues going through progressions. For him to be successful a coach has to simplify a system.

    3rdly Hey Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan deserve a shot with the Browns.

  62. He should be happy to not be distracted with Football and he can dedicate his time to fixing the world.

  63. People are just overreacting because he wasn’t signed immediately. He’s going to land on a team eventually. I think he will even get a starting opportunity. There is plenty of time left. Calm down.

  64. Adrian Peterson is unemployed too, but is it because he was once suspended for child beating? I think both Peterson and Kap are asking for more money than teams are willing to pay for the time being. That is why both are still un-signed.

  65. The main problem with Kaepernick is that you cant run any kind of conventional passing offense with him. He isnt a cog that fits into the system, he is the system. Your OL has to adapt to holding up in pass protection longer, your receivers have to get used to blocking downfield more often as he will usually take off running if his first read doesnt get open. He will be up and down all season long, throw for 400 yards one game, throw for less than 10 yards another game, he is more talented than alot of other QBs but you will never have any consistency with him. Not many teams are willing to commit to such a bipolar level of QB play and a quarterback who is still extremely raw as a passer while on the verge of 30.

  66. Joe Thomas got 2 of the 3 variables right. He left out salary demand.

    The Bears just added 2 very shaky QBs to their roster. Glennon got starter money, and Sanchez got backup money.

    Given the fall-off in performance, Kaepernick is not in line for starting QB money. And that’s before you add in the circus that would come with his presence on a roster.

    There are clubs that need a QB bad enough that they would consider Kaep on a “prove-it” contract (low base plus incentives). But Kaep and his agents think such a deal is beneath him.

    This may be a bit vulgar, but I think the unspoken sentiment among teams is fairly simple: “we can work with Kaep in spite of the crap, but they want too much cap.”

  67. As a fan I personally could care less what his ability is at this point. I absolutely despise Kaepernick and will root against any team he plays for including my own.

  68. I keep seeing the word “politics” thrown around here. It’s not politics, its business.
    NFL owners are in this for the money. When a guy like Colin Kaepernick does something that clearly upsets a large number of their customers/supporters then that player had darned well better be able to back it up on the field – in a big way.
    Kaepernick, plain and simple, is not good enough to cancel out the baggage he willingly picked up, and so he becomes a business casualty. “Politics” merely happens to be the method he chose.
    For a brief time Kaepernick was successful as the product of a gimmicky offense, a solid running game and a stout defense. His athleticism was perfect for the read-option, and his improvised runs were deadly when the pocket broke down. Then teams got used to the read-option, saw plenty of him on film and made adjustments. Tacklers were better prepared for his speed and quickness, got better at anticipating and took better angles. Defensive coordinators knew he didn’t read coverages well and devised schemes to slow him down.
    Not long after Kaepernick killed the 49ers with three picks and a lost fumble in the NFC title game San Francisco lost its fiery coach, and injuries and surprise retirements made the team suddenly quite ordinary. Then we saw the real Kaepernick, who not only was exposed as a passer, but who took a highly unpopular political stance and further outraged a lot of fans with polarizing and sometimes conflicting or hypocritical messages in his comments and clothing choices. Much of that was done was done on COMPANY time, not his personal time.
    He also lost weight and muscle due to his diet, then opted out of a $15 million contract — which he most assuredly didn’t do to take less money as a backup somewhere.
    Is Kaepernick – like Tim Tebow – more talented than some of the QBs being signed by other teams? Sure. But those others QBS are signing for relatively little money. Far more significantly, they‘re not viewed as controversial and polarizing distractions to their teams and fan bases.
    Politics, schmolitics. It’s business. If Kaepernick were a star he’d have been employed long ago. This is about perception and image, and anything he brings to the football table is far outweighed by his controversial stances.
    I’ll close this far-too-long comment by saying that I respect anyone who believes in something so strongly that he is willing to take a tough and controversial stand, no matter what it costs him personally. But only if he understands and accepts the inevitable consequences. Otherwise, it’s just phony and hypocritical.

  69. He was a gadget QB that was figured out. What a roller coaster ride for the wish wash Santa Clara fans. They loved him, hated him, loved him, then hated him again. Buying and Burning his jersey multiple times. Now we will hear how great Bobby Hoyer is going to be!

  70. The author of this post has said some absurd things over the years, but to say that Kaepernick is better than at least 12 of the NFL’s current starting quarterbacks is his all-time worst.
    All time worst.
    Florio is a well known liberal, but that statement was just pure stupid.

  71. Anyone that wears a castro t-shirt and supports him loses all credibilty with me immediately. God knows how many people that man murdered to seize and maintain power in cuba yet he complains about the police in this country. This country is far from perfect but still the best one in the world. Thats why everyone is trying to get here. I doubt if cuba has an illegal immigration problem. Colin should move there or go to a muslim country with his girlfriend if he thinks its so bad here.

  72. Another article about this? It’s mindboggling that the poll shows that people believe Kap’s politics are keeping him out. It’s that he’s terrible. He’s already decided to stand for the anthem next year. If he had any talent, a team would sign him knowing that fans will forget or forgive if he starts winning.

    That’s the bottom line. If a player wins, fans forgive. And the fans of other teams don’t really matter here. Whatever team he’s on, those fans will be on his side if he wins. That’s all there is to it. So if a guy is unsigned this far down the road and has no outstanding criminal charges, it is because he cannot play as well as other available players. That’s it.

  73. I think that a lot of these comments are way off on Kaep. Those who say he’s bad for a team and that he would be a distraction, bad teammate, etc. are simply ignoring the facts. NFL players generally respect and like him, as seen by public comments of many players recently. His teammates last year voted him as their leader.

    As Florio pointed out, his stats were actually solid last year, despite not being fully healthy after offseason surgery. When you add in his running threat, he actually had a decent season. In addition, the offensive talent he was working with was terrible in SF. Look at his receivers, running game, etc. It was terrible. They were often playing from behind in a predictable fashion. Comparing his numbers to Tyrod Taylor then looks a little misleading – as having Watkins, Woods, Clay, etc. and McCoy is much more than what Kaep had.

    So when you add up these factors – that he had a 90 qb rating (+ running value) with the worst receivers in the NFL, that QBs are a premium, that he was voted by his teammates and is respected by the majority of players around the league – then the only conclusion is that some old white men owners and GMs around the league don’t like him for personal or political reasons. You want to talk about political correctness being a problem in this country? that’s it! Funny how Trump voters don’t have a problem with PC-ness when it’s their opinions that are hurt.

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think he’s a great QB, but I do think he’s better than the QBs of STL, SF, DEN, BUF, NYJ, MIN, CHI, CLE, HOU, JAX….and about equal to a handful of other QBs around the league. If an NFL GM was actually doing his job well – and leaving out political correctness – then he should sign Kaep, assuming it’s at a reasonable contract price. If Kaep’s teammates didn’t like him, then I wouldn’t hold this opinion.

  74. sniffy4 says:
    Mar 25, 2017 12:36 PM
    Kaepernick threw for 400 yds last season. Mark Sanchez did not, and was just signed by an NFL team. You figure it out.

    ———

    Pretty easy to figure out. Mark Sanchez is due to earn $2M next season….Kaep wants more than $15M. See how easy that was?

  75. He’s unemployed because HE opted out of a $15 Million contract. Nobody here told him to do that and nobody that works for a living is going to lose a minute of sleep over it.

  76. nhpats says:
    Pretty easy to figure out. Mark Sanchez is due to earn $2M next season….Kaep wants more than $15M. See how easy that was?

    So easy in fact that it boggles the mind that intelligent adults can’t see it, regardless of which teams or players they root for or against on a football field.
    Too may of us believe what we want to believe, ignoring the facts, obvious signs and easy-to-connect dots that are staring us in the face.

  77. You look at the comments and the thumbs up numbers on these posts and I wonder who is really being blackballed? Why can’t the people find representation in their own media? I would love to read articles written by patriots, but it is not possible. It’s all guys like Florio? Again, who is really being black-balled in this country?

  78. this has become one of the most lame forums on the internet…he sucks – I said it before and it is not here now..he sucks – and his time has passed…MANY folks stopped watching b/c the league didn’t stop that nonsense…the only chance he had was to be elite – and I do not think I have to tell any of you – he is NOT elite…

  79. Two things owners hate are players with declining skills and players who bring controversy. Due to no one’s fault but his own, Kaepernick has become both. You can pick a side if it makes you feel better but the completely obvious answer is that it’s both.

    Don’t agree? Let’s take them away and look at him like that. If he was still playing at a high level, an owner and fan base will stomach even views they disagree with. If he didn’t stir up controversy, at least a few teams would take a chance at fixing him and getting a mobile QB with a strong arm. He created a perfect storm of toxicity and now people want to pretend this proves something?

  80. Given that Joe Mixon will be drafted this year and Tyreek Hill was drafted last year, it’s absurd that we’re even talking about this.

  81. fmckenney says:
    Newtons third law; For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

    You have wonder, however, if Cam Newton might not be a better player is he spent more time in the film room and less time making and numbering all those laws of his.
    Oh, you meant THAT Newton . . .
    In all seriousness, you nailed it!

  82. he started his routine in the preseason last year , so that he wouldn’t be cut ; that would have caused a backlash .
    he knew what he was doing .

  83. If his play on the field is worth more than the distractions he brings then he is worth signing. Thus far the message seems to be “not worth it.”

    We are ALL valued and judged based on behavior and actions.

    What is not discussed, is his lack of development, how he sits alone on the bench between series when every other QB in the league studies pictures or MS Surface tablets. How crappy he is on 3rd down.

    He just doesn’t seem to be that into playing QB in the NFL. Stop making him a victim.

  84. darkgoody says:
    Given that Joe Mixon will be drafted this year and Tyreek Hill was drafted last year, it’s absurd that we’re even talking about this.

    NFL owners believe those players are difference-makers who could/will significantly help their teams win games. They’re willing to overlook their baggage and pay them rookie wages in the belief their gamble will pay off (as it did with Tyreek Hill).
    NFL owners apparently believe Colin Kaepernick is no longer a difference-maker who can effectively lead their team or help it win consistently. As such, they aren’t willing to overlook his baggage OR pay him more than the millions he walked away from in San Francisco.
    As I said in an earlier comment, it’s about business and what paying customers are willing to put up with.

  85. If you are a star and can produce, owners will tolerate a certain amount of distraction. The problem is Kap isn’t that good, so the owners will not put up with his crap. He should have thought about this before he started his routine of kneeling for the anthem. He made his bed and now he has to lie in it. You have a right to free speach, but you are not protected from the consequences of that speech.

  86. 1 Kaepernck’s play is steadily declining.
    2. He wants too much money,
    3. He’s an idiot.

  87. Kind of like La’el Collins being a projected first round draft pick yet not getting drafted at all because of the off field investigation he was involved in. Has nothing to do with talent vs politics. This is just good old fashioned risk vs reward. The risk of signing him is not worth the reward. Economics 101………

  88. Why the heck is this an either/or question when we all know the answer is it’s both? To the ‘(insert name here) has a job but Kaeprnick doesn’t’ people, I’d just point out (insert name here) has a job and Jay Cutler doesn’t. That would be the same Jay Cutler that has thrown for over 32k yards in his career and to the best of our knowledge has never worn a Castro shirt or pig socks while talking about oppression and the need for meaningful dialogue so enough with bs about it being purely political. If either Kaepernick or Cutler could play like Brady or Rodgers they could burn the flag and club baby seals on national TV and there would still be owners tripping over themselves to hand them the keys to the kingdom.

  89. collectordude says:
    1. Kaepernck’s play is steadily declining.
    2. He wants too much money,
    3. He’s an idiot.
    —-
    Not necessarily in that order.

  90. Kap totally jumped the shark with his little “protest” when he showed up for practice in “pig” socks mocking policemen, then wore a Fidel Castro T-shirt to a presser and complimented the dictator. He spoke out against police violence as if all cops were a bunch of killers, when the numbers and evidence simply don’t back up such a claim. No doubt this entire stunt can be traded to his “activist” and BLM advocate girlfriend. She helped completely tank his career. If he hasn’t dumped her by now, he’s even more of a fool than he was to listen to her in the first place.

    As for play on the field, what the eyes revealed looked a lot worse than reviewing his numbers show. He couldn’t read defenses and looked indecisive and awful as a passer. Add it all up and of course nobody wants to touch him at this point. I suspect when he lowers his salary expectation to something approaching the vet minimum, then somebody *might* take a flyer on him. Maybe.

  91. goodness i have never seen such white knighting for a male as i have seen florio doing for kap. YOu seem so desperate for cleveland to sign him because of his connections to bush..hey why aren’t you chewing on rooney, or lurie? They invested heavily in more liberal politics and i do not see you baying at them. The only one acting politically is this site. Kap will get a job when a team feels they can help them…if they do not..for whatever reason they choose..kap will stay unemployed. Kap has made more money than most of us(and probably Florio as well) will ever see in our lives sans hitting the lottery. He is not going to be living on the streets unless he was foolish with his millions. Kap is fine employed or not.

  92. I laugh inside everytime a black man calls somebody else a racist. Nobody holds down the black community more than blacks themselves. Nobody kills more blacks than blacks themselves. Keep deleting the truth and sweeping it under the rug and that part of the problem will never get addressed.

  93. As a player, Kap is good as his coach.

    With that in mind, if anyone could find real value in Kap, it’d probably be the Patriots. They have a whole system, and enough internal discipline to handle likes of mercurial characters like Kap. Look what they did with Blount as an example.

  94. Your QB is supposed to be a professional and the leader of your team.

    As a professional you should leave your politics off the field and you definitely shouldn’t be a distraction week to week.

    You should be a draw for your team and in Kaepernick’s case he became a national pariah. His saving grace was he was in SF, almost any other team would’ve run him out of town for his actions.

    and to cap it all off his play was mediocre at best and it could easily be said that he brought the team down around him by being so me first as a teammate.

  95. Name one employer in ANY industry who wants to hire an average to below average employee who would draw major public scrutiny & possibly alienate a significant portions of its customer base. I’ll wait.

  96. The NFL sells entertainment!

    Watching a man disrespect the National Anthem when we have our military risking their lives in foreign countries to defend and protect our liberty and freedom is not entertaining. In fact it is down right offensive.

    Kaepernick’s decision to use the NFL television platform to express his opinion was legal, but controversial.

    The fact that he talked himself out of 10’s of millions of dollars of future income could easily have been anticipated. Too bad he was not intelligent to figure that out.

    Freedom of speech is a beautiful thing up until the point you lose everything by upsetting the people that pay you.

  97. cgooch11 says:
    Mar 25, 2017 12:43 PM
    It seems like the only person who continues to talk about this subject is Florio. It’s clearly the offseason.

    ======

    That’s what it seems like to you, huh? That’s odd because the two articles Mike has posted over the last couple days have been based upon what other people were saying about him. And this post has over 120 comments.

    But you’re right, Florio is the only person still talking about this subject.

  98. It’s silly to believe that Kaep’s unemployment isn’t 100% about politics. He’s not even a decent starting QB but he would be a damn good backup. Mark Sanchez keeps getting jobs, EJ Manuel, Geno Smith, etc. Don’t sit here and pretend he’s not a much better option than those guys if you need a stopgap.

    Granted, IF he was really good he would definitely be on a team. It’s a balance. Teams are willing to put up with stuff when the talent on the field is good enough, and Kaep isn’t, but he would absolutely be on the sideline without having taken a stand. And that’s sad, because his stand was excellent and his method brilliant (it worked, right). He knew the risks before he took his stand and he did it because he has character and principles – I can admire that.

  99. I think they’re mostly just worried that he can’t get his helmet on quick enough in case he needs to go in the game cuz his hair.

  100. Kraep is a one and done gimmick QB whose time is over and even if he hadn’t kneeled, would still be having trouble getting signed with what he’s asking.

    The only reason he began to kneel was to gain a political shield against being cut until he could void his contract at the end of the season. Purely selfish intentions and not true activism.

  101. Kaepernick doesn’t like the majority of NFL fans. Why should they like him?

    And what employer would want an employee with that baggage? CK will never win enough ball games to overcome what everyone can see is his hatred of the average NFL fan.

    He can play in the Venezuelan developmental league, but my guess is the Venezuelans wouldn’t put up with it either. They have had the wool removed from their eyes and see that CK is a useful idiot.

  102. If he was a stud QB whatever team took him would deal with his distractions as would most of their fans…

  103. After 8 long years, American pride is back again, he just found himself on the wrong side of it.

  104. I believe his ability to play the position is such a question mark that most organizations have come to the conclusion that he is not worth the trouble. And that is in the face of a public announcement that he is no longer going to take a knee in protest when the National Anthem is played. So either teams don’t believe he will abide by his word which can contractually be handled or the overwhelming feeling is that he cannot play. Look, once defenses got a feel for a dual threat/read option system they have been more successful defending it going forward.. Kaepernick has regressed every season post the 2014 NFL Championship game. He had a game last season where he threw for four yards in a game and got benched.. Name me one Quarterback currently listed as Free Agents who ever threw for four yards in a game? NFL GM’s have a fair concern on whether Kaepernick is worth the opportunity and IMHO it is his more about his ability not his political bent..

  105. “Better question would be WHY ISN’T GABBERT SIGNED. He’s 2 years younger and all about football.”

    That comment actually made me laugh out loud. People talking about performance but Gabbert’s still hanging around the league. Got it.

  106. Nick Foles put up even better numbers in the same system. But, I’m guessing Kaepernick wouldn’t sign the same deal that Foles just did. And that’s what seems to be getting ignored by everyone in this debate is money. What is Kaepernick asking for? If he wants $15M/year still, his political views really don’t matter…

  107. A better question is why is the protest playing into it at all Joe? Phony patriotism, the jingoism gone wild in this country. I didn’t agree with the protest but I certainly do not think he should be blackballed by the NFL over it. The NFL should be ashamed.

  108. Florio says:
    Speaking of Taylor, his numbers for the year were comparable to Kaepernick’s.
    _____________________________-
    Not really… The most important stat is quite different.
    Taylor (7-8)
    Kaepernick (1-10)

    Taylor can win games.

  109. I thought the protests he did should have been basically pointless. It’s a shame these snowflake conservatives can’t handle when someone else looks at something differently. You claim to be about freedom… as long as everyone is free to think the same thing as you.

  110. A chance to pay almost 10 mil a year for a bottom end starter/really good backup? Oh boy, where do I sign? Who doesnt want to pay a backup 8-10 mil a year and deal with the media distraction? Yeah, its racists…eyeroll.

  111. The players around him and his coach propped him up during his glory years, in another system he’s just another average QB but comes with baggage and demands. Other QBs take a job and suck it up. Diva doesn’t fly well with most clubs and fans.

  112. I think it’s because he seems like a total fraud. Frankly, if I didn’t respect this country, and its’ anthem, I would still be sitting down pouting somewhere. Does he really think anything he did made a difference? Football players should play football. Politicians should blow smoke up our arses, and babies should cry.

  113. It’s politics.

    The NFL is starved for decent QB play. We’re talking a field where Brock Osweiler was paid a ridiculous amount of money to drag an otherwise strong team to the playoffs by being average. Ryan Fitzpatrick made a career by being just good enough to start. The Broncos went from winning a Super Bowl to not making the playoffs because they had to throw Trevor Siemian. The Browns have had 26 starting QBs since 1999. It’s crazy to think that someone who teams were falling over each other to get is now out.

    To be sure, his play has declined. A lot of the 49ers success looks like Harbaugh’s doing. But teams falling over themselves to overpay for “decent” play you’d think that Kaep would at least have a backup role.

  114. we all know what this all about;

    the NFL owners are all staunch conservatives (an ironic term, since all conservatives seek to conserve is themselves) as are most of the GMs, head coaches and franchise QBs;

    all contributed heavily to the current crop of Neo-Dixiecrat reptiles currently in control of the government in Washington and so do not cotton to anyone who stands in the way of their systemic social, political and economic oppression they call ‘American Pride’ and ‘Greatness’ just like the original Dixiecrats did, all the way back to the pre-Revolutionary Whigs and Tories;

    the current Republican Party are no more the ‘party of Lincoln’ than the NOI or Scientology are religions, so given the current clime of faux-‘reality’ where outright lies are taken as real truths (everyone knows the Donald and his fellow scum couldn’t have won without Putin, Comey, the rescinding of the Voting Act and Wikileaks) even so mild a protest by a good footballer caught up in the idealism of youth would be seen as an act of heresy bordering on sedition by many here who comically think the current administration gives a tinkers d**n about them just because it got their vote;

    never mind that every star on that flag represents land stolen by use of institutionalised force up to and not limited to biological warfare and genocide from indigenous (and in many cases now extinct) peoples;

    my, how soon we forget 2007-2008, when the economy brought nearly every one commenting here down on one knee…

    and what does that have to do with football?

    that certainly wasn’t the question one everyone’s lips back then, was it?

    leave these avaricious imbeciles in power long enough and i promise you we’ll all be back on one knee again, if only because we cannot breathe the greenhouse air nor drink the fracking water;

    give the kid a job, before he takes you to court for collusion, ties up the league for years in a lawsuit that will do nothing save generate negative publicity and drive down ratings even if the next super bowl is rigged, too, for the Browns to triumph (don’t laugh, even a supermodel figured out the last one was)–and then wins;

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