It’s been a disaster of an offseason for Colin Kaepernick. After losing his job to Blaine Gabbert last season, it was assumed that he would reclaim the spot in Chip Kelly’s offense. He’s done everything but that as he’s fallen way behind in the team’s quarterback competition. When he has played this preseason and in training camp, he’s looked awful. And now with the national anthem controversy surrounding him and the 49ers, his future in San Francisco looks bleak, at best. The 49ers could very well release him before the season gets underway, or possibly explore a trade with a quarterback-needy team willing to take on his contract. The most likely scenario is that he gets released and doesn’t land anywhere this season, causing him to miss the year. If not, these are five potential landing spots.
The talk of the offseason months ago was the blockbuster deal that the Broncos and 49ers were going to make involving Colin Kaepernick. Of course, that trade never panned out and the rumors were put to rest when the Broncos drafted Paxton Lynch in the first round. Would Denver still be open to bringing in Kaepernick now that it’s named a starting quarterback for Week 1 in Trevor Siemian? Possibly. Mark Sanchez is likely to be cut, while Lynch may not be ready to be the primary backup to Siemian. Kaepernick has found himself in some hot water lately with his national anthem protest, so the Broncos will likely be among the teams staying away from him, but it’s not out of the question.
Could the Browns add another former star-turned-bust to the quarterback mix? With Robert Griffin III already the starter, the Browns could show some interest in Kaepernick, who would fit in nicely in Hue Jackson’s scheme. Now, RG3 and Kaepernick on the same roster would likely be too much to handle for the city of Cleveland – or any city for that matter – but the Browns are as desperate for success as any team in the NFL. Kaepernick would at least give Jackson a comparable backup to RG3, given their similar skill sets.
WPNoah K. Murray
New York Jets
Remember when it was reported that Kaepernick wanted out of San Francisco and preferred the Jets? That was back in February and held very little water. There’s no denying that the Jets at least considered a trade for Kaepernick before re-signing Ryan Fitzpatrick. New York still has a bevy of (mediocre) quarterbacks behind Fitz – Geno Smith, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg – so a veteran presence might not be a bad idea. That’s, of course, assuming they’re OK with Kaepernick’s political statements recently.
This is a longshot, but stick with me. The Seahawks’ current backup quarterback is undrafted rookie Trevone Boykin. Seattle would prefer not to have a player as inexperienced as he is backing up Russell Wilson to start the year. Kaepernick isn’t a great option, but he at least has valuable experience – much more than Boykin has. Not to mention, Kaepernick has spent his entire career with the 49ers, Seattle’s biggest rival. Perhaps he could bring insight north with him should he sign with the Seahawks if he’s released, not that the 49ers are the slightest bit of a threat in the NFC West.
The most likely scenario for Kaepernick is that he’s out of the NFL altogether in 2016. Insisting that he could land in the CFL is a less-than-serious suggestion, but it doesn’t look like he can play football at the highest level anymore. The CFL has given way to stars like Cameron Wake, Warren Moon and Joe Horn, and it’s an opportunity for Kaepernick to hone his skills and remain in shape should he fail to find a landing spot this season. Again, it’s highly unlikely, but his future in the NFL doesn’t look bright.