Colin Kaepernick is still out of a job.
He first made headlines by bursting onto the scene as a phenom. Football analyst Ron Jaworski claimed Kaepernick had the tools to be the best quarterback ever.
Kaepernick never came close to reaching Jaworski’s ceiling. He regressed.
Then he polarized fans and media for his anti-national anthem protest.
And now he’s making headlines for a different reason.
There’s a possibility that Kaepernick could forgo football altogether to dedicate himself to social causes.
Peter King wrote in Sports Illustrated:
So Kaepernick has bought a place in downtown Manhattan and lives in the big city fairly anonymously. I spent a long draft weekend with the Niners in California, and there are those in the building who think Kaepernick might actually rather do social justice work full-time than play quarterback. He emerges in New York City occasionally for noble cause work, last week donating 100 men’s suits to a parole office in Queens, so recipients, recently out of prison, would look more presentable when going on job interviews.
Whether or not that’s true, Kaepernick may not have a choice in the matter, as no NFL teams have reached out to him yet.
From Yahoo! Sports:
For quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the reality is sinking in: the offseason clock is running out.
And with each passing day, it’s looking more and more like the NFL is determined to leave him behind. Perhaps inexplicably and maybe permanently.
That’s what the absolute silence is suggesting now – that 32 franchises (with at least 32 different decision-makers) have all come to the same conclusion: the 29-year-old former Super Bowl quarterback isn’t even worthy of a tryout. That’s in contrast to the likes of Geno Smith, Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley, Nick Foles and many others who have all found new teams this offseason. Blaine Gabbert joined that list on Wednesday after he reportedly got a deal with the Arizona Cardinals.
Meanwhile, nearly 10 weeks into free agency, not a single franchise has been confirmed to have even called about Kaepernick.
The fact Gabbert signed with a team before Kaepernick – despite posting inferior numbers last season – has rankled Kaepernick supports.
One cause for Gabbert signing first was his acceptance to play for the veteran league minimum of $900,000, whereas Kaepernick reportedly wanted a $9 million contract, although that has not been confirmed.
If Kaepernick is willing to play at a salary near the league minimum, then the other reason for the lack of interest is likely the giant elephant in the room: his political activism.
Kaepernick’s regression warrants he is no longer a starting-caliber quarterback, but he could still be a serviceable backup.
However, no NFL team wants their backup quarterback to be a distraction, and rightly so. Team chemistry is a fragile thing. A head coach or general manager doesn’t want risk adding a volatile mix.
Kaepernick supposedly formed a good rapport with his teammates, but another organization may not want to roll the dice on his fitting in, especially not for his middling production.
If Kaepernick wants to be an outspoken social activist, that’s his prerogative. But it’s also the prerogative of NFL to choose not to open themselves up to any potential fallout.
That said, If Kaepernick were performing like his 2012 self, he would be starting for a club right now, protest and all.