According to Colin Kaepernick's agent, the former Pro Bowler plans to opt out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers and become an unrestricted free agent.
On Thursday's episode of Undisputed, Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless projected what's next for the man who was the most talked-about player of 2016 (despite playing for a 2-14 team), and debated how his national anthem protests have affected his value to teams moving forward.
Shannon: Kaepernick will likely have to start as a backup
“I believe, initially, he’ll probably have to start as a backup, and he needs to go to the ideal situation.
Anybody that brings Colin in for an interview, they need to have some serious discussions with him, and I believe they will. They’re going to ask him, ‘are you going to continue this kneeling protest?’ Because I think that’s only fair. I don’t think he should say ‘no,’ and then he gets there and all of a sudden he springs that on them.
I believe he’ll be open and honest. This is something he’s passionate about. As you know I’ve spoken to Colin on numerous occasions about this issue, and this is in him… This is not about social media following, Twitter likes and all that other stuff. He sincerely believes, and he was willing to risk a lot.
And that’s what should happen. When you start a protest, Skip, you must be willing to lose something. Because if you’e not willing to risk or lose something, what the hell are you doing it for? I believe he is [willing to sacrifice his career].”
Kelley L CoxKelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Shannon: Kaepernick needs to go to a team that will utilize his skill set
“I believe he has to go to a perfect situation. And people are like ‘well, what do you mean, a perfect situation?’ The thing is that once you become a proven guy, they start catering the offense more and more to your skill set. If you see with Tom Brady, Tom Brady has the offense catered to what he does really well. So does Aaron Rodgers.
Eventually, maybe if Colin can get there… he’s a backup, somebody goes down, he comes in, they’re not going to call plays the same way as they have, because he’s an unconventional quarterback. He’s been very, very successful."
USA TODAY SportsRobert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Shannon: It's ridiculous that Johnny Manziel is more coveted than Colin Kaepernick
"This is what I don’t understand. People are lining up to sign Tony Romo. Tony Romo has never been past the divisional round of the playoffs. That guy, [Colin Kaepernick], was a throw away from winning the Super Bowl. And he followed it up the next year from being a throw away from going back to the Super Bowl.
But now, all of a sudden, he’s a black cat? Here’s a guy who has a Pro Bowl on his resume, he has a Super Bowl appearance on his resume, he’s taken a team back to the NFC Championship Game… and teams are lining up to take Johnny Manziel, with his history of alcohol and whatever else, he has two alleged domestic violence [incidents] on his resume, but somehow Colin Kaepernick is a black cat.
It’s utterly ridiculous, but it just goes to show you, you know.”
Neville E. GuardNeville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
Skip: Kaepernick's stats over the last few years aren't awful
“You get it, you know why because you said why. He became the biggest, you could argue, the biggest lightning rod in the history of the league? That was as courageous but polarizing a stance as you couldever take in the United States of America. And I think it really, really worked.
Look, I became a Kaepernick fan in those two years you spoke of. Because you’re right. I thought it was pass interference on [Michael] Crabtree, I thought they should have won the Super Bowl. And then the next year, as you say, the game at Seattle is a six-point game.
… That’s how good that quarterback was for two straight years under a coach who really believed in him, Jim Harbaugh.
And then you can say he regressed, but still I look over those next three years, ’14, ’15 and ’16. 41 touchdowns to only 19 interceptions. While he’s not the most accurate passer - his percentage is in the mid-50s, so it’s not great, it’s down near the bottom - but 41 to 19, it’s pretty good. So he’s not that accurate but he doesn’t make big mistakes. There were times I wish he would of run more, because he has the ability to run to complement his pocket passing. Just like RGIII decided ‘I don’t want to run anymore,’ well, OK, now what?”
Skip: He is at least a high-quality backup
“So then coming into last year, as we all know, he had right wrist surgery and he had a knee surgery, so he wasn’t quite right at first. And he’s been in two bad regimes under Jim Tomsula and then Chip Kelly.
And yet this year, if you look hard at his resume for the 2-14 49ers, I see three road games where if you analyze the stats, they were big-time road games! The one at the Dolphins, which came down to the last play of the game when he tried to run it in and Kiko [Alonso] and [Ndamukong] Suh got him at the 2-yard line.
… To me, he is at least a high-quality backup quarterback, and I could name off the top of my head five places where he deserves a chance to go in and win the job in the preseason.”
Shannon: Kaepernick is underrated because he's unconventional
“Maybe the Jets will be interested, we don’t know their situation. Chicago.
And that’s the thing I don’t understand, because I think the thing is Skip, when we look at quarterbacks, we need them to be conventional. Jay Cutler is a conventional quarterback, so is Tony Romo.
What [Colin] does is unconventional, but he’s been successful doing it this way. And then everybody’s like ‘well, he had Jim Harbaugh.’ Well Tony Romo had Bill Parcells. Guess where Bill Parcells’ bust is, Skip? Canton, Ohio. Don’t make it seem like Tony Romo has not had good coaching in his career… and this young man has things on his resume that Tony Romo, Jay Cutler does not."