While a number of unheralded free agent quarterbacks have been striking it rich in free agency, a former NFC Champion with arguably the best resume of any QB remaining on the market - 29-year-old Colin Kaepernick - is still out of a job.
Former San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh said that he believes Colin Kaepernick - who is, as of now, unemployed - is still a championship-caliber player, and backed his former QB to have a 'great career.'
On Wednesday's episode of Undisputed, Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless reacted to Harbaugh's remarks, and Skip identified the two major problems Kaepernick is facing.
Jim Harbaugh: Colin Kaepernick is a championship-caliber quarterback
“I think he’s an outstanding player, 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. And I think you’ll see. He’ll have a great career, be a great quarterback. Win championships.”
Ed SzczepanskiEd Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
Shannon Sharpe: Kaepernick deserves an opportunity
“I think someone should give him an opportunity, but here’s the problem that he’s running up against.
… You hear this term ‘baggage.’You know what I found out about baggage? If the person can help you, you don’t care about his baggage. If he’s aligned with you politically or religiously, you don’t care about his baggage.
But if you don’t think he can help you, he has baggage.”
Gary A. VasquezGary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Shannon Sharpe: Kaepernick is being judged more harshly than players who have committed crimes
“We know for a fact - this is not conjecture or innuendo - there have been guys that have been arrested and charged with vehicular homicide, operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and kill people, and [still] play in the NFL.
We’ve seen people with domestic violence charges against women and children play again in the NFL.
But what Kaep is up against is something greater. He’s being labeled unpatriotic. People frown down upon that more than they do this.”
USA TODAY SportsRobert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Shannon Sharpe: Kaepernick's resume is far more impressive than his peers in free agency
“Think about this, Skip. Colin Kaepernick has won four playoff games, he’s made two NFC title games and he’s gone to the Super Bowl.
Now here are some free agent quarterbacks: Mike Glennon, Brian Hoyer, Nick Foles, Luke McCown, Landry Jones. Matt Barkley. Kellen More. Geno Smith. E.J. Manuel and Aaron Murray. And you throw [Tony] Romo in there. All of those guys combined have two playoff wins. Colin Kaepernick has four.
Colin Kaepernick had 16 touchdowns, four interceptions, that’s 4-to-1. Only a handful of quarterbacks had a better touchdown-to interception ratio, but he can’t play?
… All it takes is one person to sign him, but who is going to be that general manager? Who is on firm-enough soil as a general manager? Who is the owner who says ‘I can withstand the backlash’?
Not only from the corporate sponsors and the fans, but if President Trump so be it feels in his heart that he wants to tweet, I can withstand this. Who will be the guy?”
Neville E. GuardNeville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
Shannon Sharpe: Kaepernick has the ability, but that doesn't mean he'll find a job
“I believe Colin Kaepernick can play again, but you know, Skip, we don’t really get - when you’re a black African American quarterback you really don’t get a whole lot of chances to be a backup in this league. You either start or you’ve got to go on your separate way.
You’ve got to be Warren Moon and play, or you’re done. You’ve got to be Randall Cunningham and play, or you’re done. You’ve got to be Michael Vick, Donovan McNabb.”
Skip: “Geno Smith is getting another shot.”
Shannon: “Geno Smith! Think about this: Geno Smith is getting an opportunity to play in the NFL and not Colin Kaepernick.
Now if Mike Glennon got $15 million from Chicago. Think about this - if Mike Glennon was that good, James Winston would have never went to Tampa, because they would have never got the No. 1 seed. Remember, he was the starting quarterback in Tampa … Chicago just gave him $15 million, but you’re telling me Kaepernick can’t play.”
USA TODAY SportsRobert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Skip Bayless: Kaepernick's ideal situation would be a reunion with Jim Harbaugh
“I agree with everything you just said. I’m not sure Colin is going to find a new home anytime soon, and here’s the sad part about it.
There’s one man I wish could coach him at the NFL level, and that man was the one we just quoted, Jim Harbaugh. Because Jim Harbaugh believed in Colin Kaepernick to the point he bet his career - his NFL coaching career - on Colin Kaepernick back in 2012. They were 12 weeks into that season. They were 7-2-1, and Jim Harbaugh made the risky and incredibly gutsy call to replace the former No. 1 overall pick, Alex Smith.
They’re 7-2-1 with a second year player who was, of course, drafted in the second round, named Colin Kaepernick… What was the result? A near Super Bowl.
… Jim Harbaugh is really great at convincing a quarterback he can be great, at doing what the quarterback can do best. He maximized [Colin’s] ability to win football games. With the offense, with propping him up psychologically, telling him he can do this and he shouldn’t try that.
You could see the decline of his game coincided with the exit of Jim Harbaugh.”
Shannon Sharpe: Kaepernick shied away from the style that made him unique
“I think some of [his decline] had to do with - a lot of times with an African American quarterback, they’re thought of as being ‘mobile.’ And they try to get away so fast from what made them successful. All of a sudden he runs for 181, he’s running for 70 yards in playoff games. But he doesn’t want to be labeled as a ‘running quarterback.’”
Skip Bayless: “Robert Griffin III had the same syndrome.”
Skip Bayless: Kaepernick is facing two big problems
“I see that Colin now faces two big issues. Number one, he has clearly alienated some owners and some GMs and some head coaches. And number two, I believe he’s a better starting quarterback than a backup quarterback.
Because of the way he plays, you have to tailor your offense to what he does best. And because of that, if you’re in the backup quarterback market, teams are saying ‘gee, i’ve got a pro-style pocket passer here and I don’t know if I want Colin Kaepernick to be my backup.
I start thinking ‘who could use him?’ Jacksonville is getting better and better on defense because every year these free agents just flock there. They might be semi-retiring, but … I look at Blake Bortles. Is Colin Kaepernick a better starting quarterback than Blake Bortles? You better believe he is. I’ll take Colin any day over Blake Bortles.
But now you’ve got Tom Coughlin running the show. He is old school, ‘God and country,’ right? I’m not sure that this is his cup of tea. And plus, he won his two Super Bowls with a pure drop back passer in Eli Manning.”