The Jacksonville Jaguars are among several teams that have been mentioned as a potential landing spot for former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Even people who don’t watch the NFL know who Colin Kaepernick is. His name has been blasted all over social media over the last couple of weeks. With his San Francisco 49ers contract well past expired, Kaepernick is now unemployed, and searching for a new home in the NFL.
The Jaguars have been mentioned as one of several possible landing spots for Kaepernick. With quarterback Blake Bortles struggling and in need of a talented backup, many analysts say that he would be a good fit for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
On paper, everything adds up. Their defense will be phenomenal, the offensive line is much improved, they have one of the most talented receiving corps in the NFL, and an aged backup who needs to be replaced. Playing into the general controversy surrounding Kaepernick, Jaguars owner Shad Khan was an immigrant to the United States, one of the groups of people that Colin Kaepernick has pledged to support.
Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the pre-game national anthem, praise for Fidel Castro, views on police brutality, and many other ideals have garnered just as many supporters as he has critics. Many people claim he is now “un-signable” due to the controversy surrounding his political views. However, whether he was in the right or not isn’t for me to decide.
Whether certain NFL franchises disagree with Kaepernick or not, isn’t the reason why roughly two weeks into free agency he’s still available. The real answer is much deeper than that.
When Kaepernick first started refusing to stand for the national anthem, many fans were outraged. They burned jerseys, restaurants refused to show 49ers games, and many fans went as far as refusing to buy tickets to the games. The 49ers received an onslaught of social media outrage like never before. Kaepernick’s actions damaged the image of the franchise and made the team lose a number of fans. In the end, the 49ers organization lost a lot of money from his actions, and in the NFL, money is everything.
General managers saw what happened in San Francisco, and none of them want to take the risk of potential public backlash. With Jacksonville being a military town, Jacksonville would face far more scrutiny than San Francisco ever did. It’s not so much a matter as to whether he’s good enough, but more of an issue of whether he is worth the controversy.
Kaepernick had a solid career in San Francisco. In 2016 (his worst season as a starter) Kaepernick had a passer rating of over 90 and, as pointed out all over Twitter, longtime starter Jay Cutler has had just one of those seasons in his 11-year career.
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It’s no secret that Kaepernick still has the talent to compete for a job in the NFL. That isn’t always enough, however. For example, look at Ray Rice and Greg Hardy. Both are talented players who are very capable of competing for an NFL roster spot, but neither of them are in the league because no team wants to damage the image of their franchise by signing them. If Kaepernick was a top-five NFL quarterback, the story may be a little different. But for now, the risk outweighs the benefit for a mere backup.
In the end, it’s a business decision that is keeping other NFL teams from signing Kaepernick, not so much as to whether they agree or disagree with his views or actions like many people think. If given the right team with the right coaching, Colin Kaepernick could prove to be worth the risk for a quarterback needy team.