Colin Kapernick Should Not Remain A Free Agent Much Longer
Colin Kapernick’s political position should not be the reason he remains a free agent when he’s shown the talent to earn a job in the NFL.
Colin Kapernick has been a catalyst for a large amount of political talk in sports through his efforts to draw attention to the struggles of disenfranchised people throughout the country. As he and other players kneel during the national anthem, the outrage and debate grew. Now, that Kapernick is a free agent, there seems to be two new stances on the debate taking form, both of which continue to show that politics and sports are more closely linked than some know or wish them to be.
The 29-year old Wisconsin native may never step foot on an NFL field again. The reason behind that may vary depending on who you ask. To some, there’s the idea that Kapernick doesn’t have the abilities needed to be even a backup quarterback in the league. To others, there’s the idea that Kapernick’s open protest to American symbolism is enough to jettison him from the league.
The controversy around his peaceful protest may be too much of a risk for teams to sign due to the potential backlash from fans. Diving deeper into both thoughts it becomes clear that one has more validity than the other.
Statistically, Kapernick has seen success as a professional quarterback. He played a major part in the San Francisco 49ers making the 2012 Super Bowl and the team reaching the NFC Championship Game the next season. Since then, the organization as a whole has struggled and Kapernick lost his starting position for an extended period of time.
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His on the field struggles, coupled with his six-year, $126 million dollar contract, made Kapernick a strong target for vitriol as he exhibited his rights to free speech and protest. That was enough for every type of fan, all the way up to President Donald Trump, to take shots at Kapernick and his position (per ESPN).
Still, it’s tough to believe that Kapernick doesn’t have the abilities needed to impact a team, even as a backup quarterback. Last season, Kapernick’s passer rating was at the mid-point of all qualified NFL quarterbacks, but his completion percentage was among the worst. He threw for 2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns and only four interceptions. One can’t forget Kapernick’s abilities as a dual-threat quarterback as he ran for 468 yards last season as well.
The idea of a franchise quarterback is a fleeting brass ring as many teams don’t have a player that fits that role. The mold created by Peyton and Eli Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees and others is hard to duplicate. Some also forget the struggles that players such as Brees faced when he was released from the San Diego Chargers before finding a home and system that fit in New Orleans.
Kapernick’s abilities are at least enough for a team to enlist him as a backup quarterback. There are teams such as Buffalo, Miami and Jacksonville where he could compete for the starting position. And the list doesn’t stop there. There’s a job for Kapernick in the NFL.
Unfortunately, Kapernick’s stance—or lack thereof—on American politics may be enough to keep him out of the league. This is the same league and fanbase that’s welcomed back domestic abusers, killers, drug users and accused rapists. Whether it’s on a political or performance stance, it’s very difficult to create a viable argument that Kapernick shouldn’t be signed by a team at some point this offseason. If he remains a free agent for the long-term, that speaks to a larger issue both on and off the field.