- Tony Avelar/AP
Two weeks into NFL free agency, Colin Kaepernick is still unsigned.
While the quarterback market is still yet to fully shake out, in part because some teams seem to be waiting to see what happens to Tony Romo, from the sounds of it, Kaepernick is just lingering on the market, drawing little interest from teams.
According to Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman, it appears the NFL is souring on him for two reasons: some are offended by his protest of the national anthem last year, and others just don’t think he is a good quarterback anymore.
According to Freeman, one AFC GM believes there are three things going on with Kaepernick: teams aren’t interested in his skillset, while others disagree with his social and political views, the latter points blending into a common theme.
“First, some teams genuinely believe that he can’t play. They think he’s shot. I’d put that number around 20 percent.
“Second, some teams fear the backlash from fans after getting him. They think there might be protests or [President Donald] Trump will tweet about the team. I’d say that number is around 10 percent. Then there’s another 10 percent that has a mix of those feelings.
“Third, the rest genuinely hate him and can’t stand what he did [kneeling for the national anthem]. 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.”
This may be coming full circle for Kaepernick. When the NFL world first noticed he was sitting (and later kneeling) during the national anthem, Freeman reported that some executives thought that Kaepernick could be finished in the NFL if he were cut by the 49ers. Kaepernick stayed on the team, however, and produced a so-so season in 11 starts.
During the season, Kaepernick and the 49ers restructured his contract so that Kaepernick could essentially opt out and become a free agent. He did so, and the market has been dry thus far.
On Sunday, Film director Spike Lee came to the defense of Kaepernick, posting an Instagram in which he said the lack of interest in Kaepernick is “fishy.”
“How Is It That There Are 32 NFL Teams And Kap Is Still A Free Agent? WTF. Smells MAD Fishy To Me,Stinks To The High Heavens. The New York J-E-T-S Need A Quarterback. Who Is The J-E-T-S Quarterback? … The Question Remains What Owner And GM Is Going To Step Up And Sign Colin So Their Team Has A Better Chance To WIN? What Crime Has Colin Committed? Look At The QB’s Of All 32 Teams. This Is Some Straight Up Shenanigans,Subterfuge, Skullduggery And BS.”
Just Had Brunch With My Brother Colin @Kaepernick7 . How Is It That There Are 32 NFL Teams And Kap Is Still A Free Agent? WTF. Smells MAD Fishy To Me,Stinks To The High Heavens. The New York J-E-T-S Need A Quarterback. Who Is The J-E-T-S Quarterback? Is My Man Joe Willie Namath Coming Back? Crazy Times We Live In. The Question Remains What Owner And GM Is Going To Step Up And Sign Colin So Their Team Has A Better Chance To WIN? What Crime Has Colin Committed? Look At The QB’s Of All 32 Teams. This Is Some Straight Up Shenanigans,Subterfuge, Skullduggery And BS. Ya-Dig? Sho-Nuff. By Any Means Necessary. And Dat’s Da NoFunLeague Truth,Ruth.
Historically, some NFL teams have been willing to sign players despite off-field issues, if they’re talented enough.
In 2016, Kaepernick completed 59% of his passes (26th in the NFL), for 2,241 yards (6.7 yards per completion), 16 touchdowns, and four interceptions. In an offseason in which Mike Glennon received $44 million from the Bears, Kaepernick’s numbers would seemingly be good enough for a quarterback who has been to the Super Bowl to draw interest from teams. However, Kaepernick has also battled injuries in recent years (including some that caused him to lose a surprising amount of weight), can be overly reliant on the run, and inaccurate in tight windows.
As Freeman notes, sometimes free agency can have quirky timing for players. There will be no market for weeks, and then, out of nowhere, several teams will be interested. Kaepernick is certainly not alone as the only free-agent quarterback, but the lack of interest thus far, is eyebrow-raising.
Kaepernick reportedly plans on standing for the national anthem this year, but his protest last season may have damaged his reputation in the NFL.