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The real reason Kaepernick has been ignored by NFL teams: Off-field distractions matter to GM's

Updated: Nov 14, 2019

Colin Kaepernick is in the news again. This time, he's aiming for a comeback.

The NFL announced recently that it would be hosting an open workout in Atlanta for Colin Kaepernick. The workout is open for NFL teams, and aims to present Kaepernick's skills at the QB position. The announcement came after a spokesman for Kaepernick claimed that they had "little to no response" from all 32 teams.

I don't think I have to brief you on the situation surround the former 49ers quarterback. We're all well aware.

What's unfortunately getting lost in the press surrounding the entire kneeling fiasco is one simple fact: Colin Kaepernick is not a very good quarterback. Is he average? Yes.

I'm going to make a slight comparison between Colin Kaepernick, and former Cowboys Quarterback Tony Romo. I chose Romo because during this controversy I saw many pointing out the fact that "Kaepernick was better than Romo, and he gets to keep his job simply because he's white." I also chose Romo because I've been a die-hard Cowboys fan since I was a child, and Romo is one of my favorite QB's of all-time (address hate mail to

Through his years in the league Kaepernick averaged a QB rating of 60. That puts him in the upper-middle of the pack when it comes to starting QB's. An important thing to keep in mind is that his number of "60" is very skewed by his first couple seasons where he averaged in the 70's. His previous two years were ratings of 43, and 49. When Kaepernick was benched, he was coming off of QB ratings in the 40's, so that must be taken into account when considering the decision to let him go. Compare that to Tony Romo, whose career QBR was 69.6. Romo also was famously benched for rookie Dak Prescott, even though Romo was coming off of a previous year QBR of 98.7. Romo is also 5th all-time in the history of the NFL when it comes to QBR. Note: He was benched, and for a black quarterback, at that. Racism, am I right?

Kaepernick also left his career with a 32-32 W/L record, or .500. Romo had a W/L of .775. Being at .500 for your career is not exactly great bargaining power when looking for a new starting job. Of course, we have to note the fact that the QB is not the only person on the team. QBR and your W-L record can obviously be affected by the substandard play of your teammates.

Bryan Dyrud at noted the same thing:

Which brings me to the title of this article, Kaepernick will never START in the NFL again because, well, he just isn’t that good of a quarterback.
I can 100% guarantee you that if Russell Wilson was the quarterback that knelt during the anthem, and the Seahawks decided to part ways with him, 20+ teams would be lining up to sign him. They wouldn’t care that he was bringing a little “baggage” with him. They would see that he has been to two Super Bowls, winning one of them. They would see that he has a career completion percentage of 64.7, has thrown over 4,000 yards twice, has never thrown less than 20 touchdowns, been to three Pro Bowls, and has NEVER had a losing season in his NFL career. Owner’s and GM’s see that and that is what they care about.
Kaepernick has never been to a Pro Bowl, has never thrown more than 3,400 yards, only thrown over 20 touchdowns once (21), has a career completion percentage of 59.8, and a career record of 28-30, winning only 3 times in his last 19 games.

Off-field distractions

Put yourself in the mindset of an NFL GM.

It's well known that distractions are a bad thing for a team. Think of people like Terrell Owens, or Dez Bryant. If you made the argument that "Terrell Owens is a great receiver, but he isn't worth the distractions off the field," I doubt you would be accused of being racist. It's a clear fact that off field distractions are a bad thing for an organization. Bryant and Owens were both famously let go from their teams, and struggled to find work afterwards. They didn't protest the anthem, or police brutality, and they were both great receivers. What we saw was a conscious decision by Owners, Coaches, and GM's to ignore the talents of those receivers on-field, due to their continued distractions caused off-field.

Have other players been kept when they brought obvious distractions? Yes. But remember, distractions are not the only variable. You have to also take into account the fans. Especially season ticket holders. Whether it be right or wrong, fans were more willing to give Ezekiel Elliot a pass when he was accused of domestic violence. Most believed the allegations were false. Regardless, Elliot brings amazing abilities, some distractions, but almost zero fan-revolt, something any team that picks Kaepernick is sure to see.

Kaepernick brings an obvious off-field distraction, and along with that, he brings average performance. Why would you risk your team's sanity and focus for someone that was barely good enough to be a starter? As an owner you must take into account ticket sales, media attention, the mentality of the rest of the team, ad sponsors, etc.. When you add those things in with a quarterback at the skill level of Kaepernick you must ask the question : Is he worth it?

Obviously the headline of this article is sarcastic, but mostly true. It will be interesting to see how Kaepernick performs in the workouts.