Kaepernick Took a Stance
Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem in a pre-season game in 2016. He reasoned that it was to protest police brutality and social injustice in the country. Subsequently, in the first regular-season game in 2016, Kaepernick and several players around the NFL also took a knee.
Their actions received backlash from NFL owners and even President Trump. Although the San Francisco 49ers had Kaepernick signed for two years, he was released following the 2016 season. The last game he played was on January 1st, 2017. No other team signed him after that, largely because he was seen as a controversial figure.
Kaepernick had an open workout in Atlanta for a possible comeback to the league in November of 2019. There were seven NFL teams represented in the 30 minutes that Kaepernick displayed his skills. The results were impressive and had positive feedback from scouts according to LaCanfora, CBS NFL insider.
Fast-forward to today. The recent protests for George Floyd sparked more of an interest for Kaepernick. Police brutality is the very same reason for which Kaepernick took a knee during the anthem in 2016.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement regarding recent protests in support of black lives matter. Goodell acknowledged that the NFL needs to listen to the voices of their players regarding these matters.
Kaepernick’s stance four years ago is now placing pressure on team’s to sign him.
So where would he be a good fit? Here are three teams the QB can help if they choose to sign him.
The Colts signed Philip Rivers as their new starting Quarterback during the offseason, who is turning 39 in December. Kaepernick, who is turning 33 in November, can fit in well in this situation as a strong backup and can execute the run-pass option. The scenario could be similar to when Michael Vick played for the Eagles with Donovan McNabb as the starter.
Also, the Colts had the 3rd best offensive line according to Pro Football Focus, which is beneficial for Kaepernick. The offensive line will afford the option of running and/or passing the ball, two things he is good at.
Furthermore, the Colts run a West Coast offense with high percentage passes. Kaepernick can strive here with the play-action pass especially if they go from the shotgun.
The Steelers have an aging Ben Roethlisberger, who is coming off of an injury to his throwing elbow. Regardless of the fact that he has recovered, it is a tough injury to come back from at the age of 38. The Steelers can also use a better backup than Mason Rudolph.
Coach Mike Tomlin would be a good mentor for Kaepernick and can put him in to mix up the offense.
The main sticking point, however, is their offensive coordinator and quarterback coach, Randy Fichtner. Fichtner was able to help Roethlisberger achieve massive numbers in the years with Roethlisberger, so it should work with Kaepernick.
The Steelers in 2019 had the ninth ranked offense according to Pro Football Focus. The stretch base offense allows for options to throw and run the ball. Kaepernick has proven in the past he can both run and throw the ball effectively.
New England Patriots
The Patriots were ranked as the 10th best offensive line according to Pro Football Focus in 2019. With a good offensive coordinator in Josh McDaniel, he would be able to work in Kaepernick just fine. McDaniel has eight seasons ranking in the top 10 offenses in the league as coordinator.
The Erhardt-Perkins system the Patriots run sets up play-action which is perfect for Kaepernick and a nightmare for defenses.
Coach Bill Belichick can help Kaepernick grow into a better player as he is already matured and into his prime. Belichick also knows how to handle controversy and being in the spotlight.
Essentially, the Patriots have nothing to lose if they sign Kaepernick. With Tom Brady gone, there isn’t much pressure to perform. Kaepernick also has more experience than the projected starter, Jarrett Stidham.
Kaepernick was a Super Bowl starting quarterback in the 2012 season. He led the 49ers to the NFC championship game the following year. His career totals are 12,271 passing yards, 72 touchdowns, and 30 ints, with a quarterback rating of 88.9.
The Bottom Line
All three teams could sign Kaepernick as they have salary-cap space available. The Colts, Steelers, and Patriots would be good options if they are willing to take the risk.