“Colin Kaepernick could be one of the greatest quarterbacks ever. I love his skill set. He throws with accuracy. And in today’s NFL, you have to have mobility. He’s got all those attributes.”
This was what ex-NFL quarterback and now ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski said of Kaepernick two years ago. This shows you the hype and promise that followed Kaepernick the season that he came out of the no where and lead the 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance.
And 2 years ago, it didn’t seem ridiculous to consider Kaepernick a potential all-time “great.” He has a huge arm, showed great accuracy, and even better, was bigger and stronger than RGIII which meant that he wouldn’t suffer from the injury problems that have plauged Griffin and other mobile quarterbacks. Ron Jaworski was right. Kaepernick had the potential to be one of the greatest. The next Randall Cunningham. Maybe the next Elway.
But unfortunately for Kaepernick, the NFL caught up to him. Defenses figured out to contain him, and Kaepernick never changed with the times. Even worse, Jim Harbuagh, the coach credited for Kaepernick’s success, was fired after 2014 and replaced with Jim Tomsula, a man who is only a sliver of Harbaugh’s genius and greatness.
Kaepernick’s regression is amazing and sad. Benchings happen all the time in the NFL, being benched for Blaine Gabbert?!?! Now that’s different. Gabbert is an all-time draft bust, and 100 times more dysfunctional than Kaepernick.
Obviously, playing for the 49ers is out of the question for 2016, but what teams would be willing to take Kaepernick? (In random order)
Kansas City Chiefs: A famed quarterback guru, Andy Reid would love to get his hands on Kaepernick. We’ve seen him resurrect Michael Vick carerer, who is essntially a left-handed version of Kaepernick.
We all know who Alex Smith is: a game manager who lacks any game-changing ability. Kaepernick could develop on the bench while providing enough pressure on Smith to perform. Besides, Kaepernick knows what it’s like to steal Alex Smith’s starting job.
Arizona Cardinals: We’ve seen what Bruce Arians can do. He helped Peyton Manning during his rookie season. He helped Ben Roethlisberger win 2 Super Bowls. He guided Andrew Luck to one of the best seasons by a rookie quarterback since Peyton Manning. And lately, he has helped resurrect Carson Palmer’s career. Now, he could potentially resurrect Kaepernick’s career as well.
Kaepernick would likely sit on the bench for a few years. But Carson Palmer isn’t getting any younger, and Arians would love to groom a quarterback with Kaepernick’s skillset to someday replace Palmer.
Detroit Lions: The Lions particularly don’t have a quarterback problem, but they do have a backup quarterback problem. Dan Orvlovsky simply can’t be trusted as your backup and Kaepernick would be a much better option if Matthew Stafford gets injured or benched.
The only problem is that there doesn’t seem to be any coaches in Detroit
who can help Kaepernick fix any of his problems.
Denver Broncos: If this is Peyton’s last season, why not provide some competition against unproven backup Brock Osweiler for the starting job next season?
Philadelphia Eagles: Essentially a less-polished version of Marcus Mariota, Kaepernick would be a perfect fit in Chip Kelly’s system. The added incentive is that Philadelphia seems like the only place where Kaepernick has a legitimate shot at starting in 2016.
Additionally, there are no strings attached to current starting quarterback Sam Bradford. The Eagles have yet to offer him a contract extension, which means he’ll likely play out the final year of his contract. And since he hasn’t looked particularly impressive so far, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if he ends up being a free agent in 2016.
And here are teams that won’t likely take Kaepernick
Philadelphia Eagles: While Kaepernick to the Eagles makes sense, there are also reasons to believe that he won’t be an Eagle in 2016.
While Kaepernick would, on paper at least, seem like a fit in Chip Kelly’s system, he still has a long way to go as a pocket passer. Taking Kaepernick and seemingly handing him a starting job is extremely risky. And if the Eagles don’t make the playoffs this year, there is a chance that Kelly is stripped of some of his power which means he won’t have as much of a say in the Eagles decisions. Besides, after seeing his offseason acquisitions fail to deliver this season, will he really be willing to make another risky decision?
Buffalo Bills: Tyrod Taylor still can prove to the coaching staff that he is the franchise quarterback, and it is unlikely that the Bills will take a flier on another inaccurate, and inconsistent quarterback similar to EJ Manuel.
Washington Redskins: Kaepernick does not fit Jay Gruden’s system. And if there is a new coaching staff in 2016, it seems unlikely that they’ll sign or trade for another dual-threat quarterback like RGIII.
Cleveland Browns: If the team were to start over at quarterback, it seems unlikely that they’ll take a flier on a banged and washed up quarterback like Kaepernick. What they need is a fresh start. What they need is Jared Goff.