Colin Kaepernick’s career in the NFL is in serious jeopardy after the Seattle Seahawks, which has a roster full of fiery players and a coach who encourages players to be vocal and supports freedom of speech, has opted not to sign the 29-year-old quarterback. Instead, the Seahawks signed Austin Davis to back up starting quarterback Russell Wilson.
As NFL franchises begin organized team activities and training camp, the Seahawks seemed to be Kaepernick’s final option. His NFL journey, which began with such great promise, has turned into a Greek tragedy. He was destined to become the next great 49ers quarterback in the mold of Joe Montana and Steve Young. The past three seasons Kaepernick has regressed, however, and of course, he drew outrage across the globe when he refused to stand for America’s National Anthem, electing to kneel instead.
The 49ers were simply horrible last year, going 2-14. Kaepernick threw 16 touchdowns and four interceptions and had a 90.7 passer rating on a dreadful 49ers team. He also had just 2,241 passing yards. Although his mobility and elusive speed are intact, he never matured into a pocket passer. In addition, his former coach Jim Harbaugh left for Ann Arbor to lead the Michigan Wolverines, while running back Frank Gore and a stout defense evaporated.
This off-season, an abundance of decent quarterbacks have found a new home, where they will be standing dutifully on the sidelines with a clipboard and headset. Why hasn’t Kaepernick been picked up?
There are a couple of shop reasons. First, Kaepernick is a mobile quarterback, so teams would need to be built around him. Every draft pick and free agent would have to fit a system designed to win with his style of play. He still shows flashes of brilliance at times and dazzling skill sets, but NFL franchises never build around a backup.
He is only three years removed from helping the 49ers reach the Super Bowl, then the NFC championship. Although it feels like a lifetime ago, compound that with the media circus that will follow him to his next spot. That is likely to scare potential suitors from signing him.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was supportive after Kaepernick visited the organization last week: “[Kaepernick’s] a starter. And we have a starter. … But he’s a starter in this league, and I can’t imagine somebody won’t give him a chance to play.”
Rumors floated the QB was demanding a hefty salary, an accusation his supporters vehemently deny. They firmly believe Kaepernick is in danger of unfairly losing his livelihood akin to the saga of former baseball player Curt Flood.
Perhaps this is a coup, with Kaepernick gaining sympathy from the public. The story is absolutely tailor-made for these divisive times. The quarterback is an intelligent man. It’s not hard to imagine him parlaying his tale into a lurid tell-all book. Perhaps Russell Wilson didn’t want his former arch-nemesis breathing down his neck.
There is no doubt, however, that Kaepernick is a far better football player than Davis is. Even Mrs. Davis would admit the fact in private. Davis has 13 career touchdowns, and has spent time with the Rams and Denver Broncos.
Mark Sanchez, Brock Osweiller, and Mike Glennon have landed. Kaepernick is still waiting. But don’t throw in the towel just yet. All it takes is one devastating injury during training camp, and boom: Kaepernick is back in the league. Hopefully, he left his arm in San Francisco.