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Finding a Quarterback: Colin Kaepernick and the cost of a social pariah

| February 8th, 2017

The best value in the quarterback market this offseason will be a guy who has been productive, led his team to a Super Bowl and possesses crazy physical skills. He will also likely have a difficult time finding a job.

Colin Kaepernick went against the grain and took a stand, or, rather, a knee and NFL teams don’t like guys who are different. In their mind, different is difficult and unless it’s a superstar it isn’t worth the trouble. NFL coaches and owners don’t want to admit this, but it has proven to be true time after time.

Kaeperick transcended football in the amount of much attention he received for what he did on the sidelines. But when he was on the field, he was actually pretty good. Why would any team serious about upgrading their quarterback position not kick the tires on the guy?

Kaepernick’s numbers are unquestionably superior to another possible free agent quarterback many want the Bears to sign.

You can probably guess that, in the above poll, the first quarterback, who received 91 percent of the votes was Kaepernick. The second quarterback was Tyrod Taylor. That doesn’t include the rushing statistics of each, but those such numbers don’t change much. This isn’t to argue Kaepernick is better than Taylor, but Kaepernick is probably going to cost around $10 million less per season. At the very least, Kaepernick is an interesting backup option for a team that wants Taylor.

The number of starts is even a bit misleading for Kaepernick. We all remember the blizzard game in which Chip Kelly mysteriously decided to pull Kaepernick (had to have been tanking for draft position, right?) for Blaine Gabbert. Kaepernick had just five passes that game. If you were to take the averages from Kaepernick’s other 10 starts and add them up over 16 games, here’s what you’d get: 3,580 yards, 26 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, 717 rushing yards, 4 touchdowns.

Projections are difficult and things rarely work out the way the averages suggest. We also can’t discount the fact that he was in a super quarterback-friendly system (see Nick Foles). But over 4,000 total yards and 30 touchdowns is, at the very least, interesting. 80% percent of that production would be interesting.

I went through and tracked four of Kaepernick’s games the same way I did for the 47 quarterbacks who took snaps for the Bears this year. His inaccuracy rate of 24.2 would’ve been second best on the Bears, behind only Matt Barkley. Kaepernick was 8-for-20 on passes greater than 20 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

The 49ers have been terrible, but we know Kapernick can get the job done. We have seen him look Aaron Rodgers in the face and beat him, in the playoffs, twice. He was less than 10 yards away from winning a Super Bowl ring. And if last year is any indication, Kaepernick is still the same player. The 49ers have just made it impossible for him to succeed.

We’re not talking about a franchise quarterback here. We’re talking about someone who can get the job done and I’m not sure if any of the other free agent options can say the same. But do you see the McCaskey family signing off on adding such a controversial player? I sure don’t. And there are going to be a lot of NFL teams that make the same decision.

Kaepernick will find a home. It will be a team with a strong, established head coach who is hoping they can bring the former 49er in to challenge their starter. I can’t see that being Chicago.

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