January 1, 2017; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) warms up before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Despite how things played out with the San Francisco 49ers, here’s a look at five teams that should consider giving Colin Kaepernick one final shot in 2017.
A few years ago, there was a time when Colin Kaepernick was considered one of the league’s most dangerous quarterbacks thanks to his ability to be effective with his legs. And rightfully so when considering he played a big part in helping the San Francisco 49ers reaching the Super Bowl during the 2012 season along with the NFC Championship the following year.
Unfortunately for Kaepernick, everything has seemed to go downhill from a football perspective since the 49ers made an appearance in that NFC Championship game due to injuries and the organization in general seeming like a mess. The fact that San Francisco will have their third head coach in three seasons with Kyle Shanahan in 2017 shows how far this team has truly fallen over the years, but at least the organization made the right decision to part ways with Kaepernick.
Kaepernick’s 3-16 record over the last two seasons is the perfect example of why a fresh start was necessary for both parties, and even if it wasn’t entirely his fault due to a lack of supporting cast on offense, Of course, finding a new home hasn’t been easy for Kaepernick so far in free agency since most teams seem to be leaning towards avoiding the quarterback after all of the controversy he brought on himself last year for speaking his mind at times throughout the regular season.
With that being said, just because teams haven’t been jumping at the chance to bring Kaepernick on board doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of changing their mind at some point. Kicking off with the Jacksonville Jaguars, here’s a look at five teams that should strongly consider giving Kaepernick one final chance to prove himself at quarterback during the 2017 season.
Dec 18, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) looks up after a play during the fourth quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
5. Jacksonville Jaguars
Give the Jacksonville Jaguars credit for being one of the early winners in free agency this offseason for making numerous key additions to make sure the defense hits a whole new level of improvement in 2017. But the Jaguars know the main factor regarding whether they can make the jump to being contenders in the AFC next year is going to come down to the play at quarterback.
Blake Bortles has been given every opportunity in the world to prove he deserves the starting job in Jacksonville over the last three years, and despite showing potential in 2015 after throwing 35 touchdown passes, he took a major step back this past season. Instead of taking advantage of a strong receiving corps consisting of Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson, Bortles continued to be one of the league’s most productive quarterbacks in garbage time after the Jaguars finished with only three wins.
This upcoming season, new head coach Doug Marrone seems willing to give Bortles one final shot to prove he deserves to be the leader of this team, but Jacksonville could find themselves in trouble if he picks up where he left off in 2016. Chad Henne may be entering his fifth seasons as the Jaguars backup option at quarterback, but if the team believes these are their best options at quarterback, providing Colin Kaepernick with a chance to prove what he can bring to the table seems like a no brainer here.
Dec 18, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) is knocked out of bounds by Cleveland Browns strong safety Ibraheim Campbell (24) during the second half at New Era Field. Bills beat the Browns 33-13. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
4. Buffalo Bills
Heading into the offseason, one of the biggest questions surrounding the Buffalo Bills Tyrod Taylor, and whether he would be back as the starter for the 2017 season due to a hefty contract. The Bills made a questionable move last August when they decided to reward Taylor with a ridiculous contract extension after just one season as the starter, but luckily the team was able to recently convince the quarterback to restructure that deal.
From Taylor’s perspective, this was the wise move since Buffalo most likely would have parted ways with their quarterback, and now he has an opportunity to be the starter for the third year in a row. But Taylor also has plenty to prove for new head coach Sean McDermott when it comes to his future with the Bills.
Even though he’s done an amazing job as a game manager over the last two seasons, Taylor hasn’t always been the most consistent quarterback, and doesn’t display monster numbers like most starting quarterbacks in the league. In comparison to Colin Kaepernick, there’s no question Taylor seems like the much better option at the moment, but with E.J. Manuel out of the picture, bringing on another experienced quarterback doesn’t seem like the worst idea in the world.
Jan 1, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Tom Savage (3) drops back for a hand off against the Tennessee Titans during the first half during the NFL game at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean via USA TODAY Sports
3. Houston Texans
The Houston Texans dropped one of the biggest bombshells of free agency after convincing the Cleveland Browns to accept a trade for Brock Osweiler, even though they had no intention of keeping him on board for the 2017 season. Signing Osweiler to a ridiculous $72 million contract was arguably one of the worst moves last offseason by the Texans, and seeing them give up on him after one season shows how awful the situation really was in Houston.
The fact that Osweiler finished with more interceptions (16) than touchdowns (15) during the regular season shows how much of a bust he truly was at quarterback in 2016, and it’s not like the Texans failed to provide him with the necessary weapons. Most teams would do anything for the opportunity to have a player like DeAndre Hopkins as their top option at wide receiver, but not even his presence was good enough to get the best from Osweiler.
What made this situation even more frustrating is the argument can be made that Houston would have advanced further in the playoffs with any other quarterback when seeing how well the defense played against the New England Patriots in the Divisional Round. At the moment, the Texans seem extremely confident moving forward with Tom Savage as their quarterback, but that shouldn’t stop them from still considering another quarterback like Colin Kaepernick.
If anything, a fresh start with a team that’s already considered a strong contender heading into next year could be what’s best for Kaepernick. Plus, at least if anything were to happen to Savage during the regular season, at least Houston would feel more confident over having an experienced quarterback like Kaepernick to fill in for the mean time.
Dec 11, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson looks on before a game between the Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
2. Cleveland Browns
It’s becoming a common theme for the Cleveland Browns to be dealing with quarterback issues at this point in the offseason when seeing all of the different players the team has worked with over the years. And while the organization should still strongly consider using one of their upcoming draft picks on a quarterback, giving Colin Kaepernick a chance to prove himself may not be a terrible idea.
If the Browns were willing to give Robert Griffin III a shot at the starting job last year, there’s no reason why they wouldn’t do the same with Kaepernick. Even if things didn’t turn out well with Griffin after he was limited to playing in just five games due to a shoulder injury, Kaepernick’s skills are similar to Griffin in which he’s capable of moving the football down the field with his legs at any given moment.
At the moment, nobody really knows what to expect from Cleveland’s quarterback situation heading into next year when considering the different options they have to work with, but it seems obvious if Kaepernick were to come on board, it would only be short term. As mentioned before, the Browns are in the perfect position to land a quarterback to build the franchise around in the upcoming draft, and the last thing they want to do is waste another valuable opportunity to finally land someone special.
December 11, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty (9) during the third quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium. The Jets defeated the 49ers 23-17 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
1. New York Jets
Speaking of teams in need of figuring out their situation at quarterback, it’s amazing to see where the New York Jets currently stand when looking at all of the options they were considering at this point last offseason. On a positive note, the Jets should feel beyond thankful for not giving in to Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s demands for a long-term deal when looking at how much of a bust he turned out to be during the 2016 season.
Spending all of that money on an ineffective veteran like Fitzpatrick would have been a disaster, but at least he’s not New York’s problem anymore. But with Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith officially out of the picture, the question now becomes which quarterback is going to emerge as the starter for the Jets during the 2017 season.
Bryce Petty certainly showed potential in limited action last year, but the verdict is still out there on whether he even has what it takes to be a legitimate starter in the league. When looking at all of the teams Colin Kaepernick would have a chance to win the starting job for, the Jets seem like the quarterback’s best option, as crazy as that may sound.
However, the one concern on Kaepernick’s end would be joining a team like New York that is going through a rebuilding phase of their own like the San Francisco 49ers. After seeing all of the moves made this offseason with the departures of key players like Nick Mangold and Brandon Marshall, it’s clear the Jets could be in for a bumpy 2017 season, which could be frustrating on Kaepernick’s end.