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Maverick or Menace: Colin Kaepernick’s Free Agency Bout

By Ayanna Alexander, Contributing Writer
Posted 12:05 PM EST, Mon., April 3, 2017

It’s been three weeks since the start of the NFL free agency and quarterback Colin Kaepernick is still unemployed.

This has left many questioning why a former Super Bowl contender is now struggling to find a team to call home.

Even President Trump commented on Kaepernick’s misfortune, adding insult to injury.

“Your San Francisco quarterback, I’m sure nobody ever heard of him,” Trump said. “…There was an article today, it’s reported, that NFL owners don’t want to pick him up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump. Can you believe that?”

Although many don’t believe that a nasty tweet from Trump could sway NFL executives, it is far to ask why a fairly talented quarterback isn’t being picked from the lineup — especially for a cheap cost.

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Has Kaepernick’s declining skillset deterred NFL owners and executives from opening up their arms and wallets to him? Or, did Kaeperick’s crusade for the people caused a change of heart?


Before Kaepernick Sat

A little over a year ago, the New York Jets, Denver Broncos, and Cleveland Browns were considering a trade for Kaepernick. He appeared to be ready to leave the San Francisco 49ers, since he walked away from a 16.9 million dollar contract for 2017.

The Browns and the Jets were then in need of a seasoned quarterback — some would argue that the need has turned desperate, yet and still, Kaepernick hasn’t received any calls.

So, what could have possibly changed between March 2016 and now?

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Well first, we have to fast forward to August 26, 2016, when Kaepernick grabbed headlines, but not for his arm.


Kaepernick’s Political Season

He shocked the country by sitting during the National Anthem in what was called a “silent protest.” His reasoning for sitting was short and simple.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Viewers felt various emotions. In fact, according FOX Sports News, over half the viewers said they were offended by Kaepernick’s actions.

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Does this have anything to do with why he can’t land a job? Some NFL executives say yes. As a matter of fact, Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman reported that an AFC general manager [GM] listed multiple reasons, including Kaepernick’s protest, as examples of why the free agent hasn’t received a call back.

“…the rest [of the public] genuinely hate him and can’t stand what he did [kneeling for the national anthem],” he said. “They want nothing to do with him. They won’t move on. They think showing no interest is a form of punishment. I think some teams also want to use Kaepernick as a cautionary tale to stop other players in the future from doing what he did.”

In addition to the silent protest, the GM also said, “…some teams genuinely believe that he can’t play. They think he’s shot…”


Check the Stats

Looking over Kaepernick’s statistics, there’s been a seven point decline in his passer rating alone.

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In 2012, the reported that Kaepernick had a 98.3 percent passer rating versus his 90.7 that he ended his time with the San Francisco 49ers.

However, it is far to argue that with significant injuries from 2015, the constant roster changes from veterans to practically rookies, and most importantly the coaching staff adjustments, any player would have a hard time keeping up their talents.

Former 49ers coach, Jim Harbaugh, who left at the end of the 2014-2015 season, still believes in the quarterback.

“I’ll tell you [PFT Live] the same thing I tell them: I think he’s an outstanding player,” Harbaugh said. “I think he’s a great competitor who has proven it in games and has the ability to be not only an NFL starter but a great NFL player.”

Since leaving the 49ers, Kaepernick has not said what team he wants to join. Instead, he’s been working on his charitable causes from donating $100,000 to the Meals on Wheels program to giving $50,000 to aid famine in Somalia.

Those donations were just from this week alone.

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So, if the decision to not hire Kaepernick is based on his off-the field “antics”, character, and skill set, then will we see him grace the field ever again?

Nobody really knows.


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