On March 3, 2017, Colin Kaepernick opted out of his San Francisco 49ers contract (STOP! … before you say it, 49ers GM John Lynch has been very clear that Kaepernick would have been cut if he didn’t opt out).
Almost 13 months have passed and as you know by now, Kaepernick hasn’t been signed. The debate about why he is unsigned has raged, and Kaepernick filed a collusion grievance against the league. There’s no reason to believe any team will sign him, because he has been free to sign for more than a year and hasn’t gotten a contract. What would change tomorrow?
But as a bigger name at this point than 95 percent of the players actually in the league, Kaepernick is still a topic of conversation. New Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden watched Kaepernick in his role as a “Monday Night Football” analyst, so he has a unique angle on the quarterback. But, to be honest, his viewpoint is baffling. This is what Gruden had to say on Kaepernick, from Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com:
“I think there’s a lot of intrigue there. His performance on the field wasn’t very good, on tape. I think, Robert Griffin, a rookie of the year, surprised he’s out there. Tim Tebow, takes a team to the playoffs, there’s some surprise that he never came back. You know, Johnny Manziel, he’s out there. Back to Kaepernick, you know he got beat out by (Blaine) Gabbert, to start the (2016) season. I think that says something. (But) I am surprised he’s not in camp with somebody. He probably will be soon.”
Let’s break this down …
“I think there’s a lot of intrigue there. His performance on the field wasn’t very good, on tape.”
These comments don’t really make sense together. And while Kaepernick does have some flaws that are apparent on tape, he’s still better than many of the quarterbacks signed since he became a free agent. He did post a 90.7 rating for a putrid 49ers team in 2016. We can debate how good his performance was, but it’s inarguable a lot of quarterbacks with a lot worse tape have gotten signed.
“I think, Robert Griffin, a rookie of the year, surprised he’s out there.”
Griffin’s game pretty much fell apart after a major knee injury at the end of his rookie season. It’s really not that big of a surprise he’s out there.
“Tim Tebow, takes a team to the playoffs, there’s some surprise that he never came back.”
Tebow was with the Jets, Eagles and Patriots since helping the 2011 Denver Broncos make the playoffs. He was with the Eagles and Patriots through preseason in different years and couldn’t make either roster. Unlike Kaepernick, Tebow had chances. Gruden clearly knows better than to believe Tebow vanished from the NFL after going to the playoffs with the Broncos.
“You know, Johnny Manziel, he’s out there.”
Manziel’s NFL career wasn’t close to Kaepernick’s, and Manziel partied his way out of the league. Just read about his ill-fated trip to Las Vegas before a Browns game. Manziel was also arrested on a domestic violence charge, and eventually reached a deal to have that dropped. Kaepernick has never been arrested and off the field, he donated $1 million of his own money to charity. You know who else thinks comparing Manziel and Kaepernick is ridiculous?
This will probably cause an uproar, but I’m tired of the @Kaepernick7 vs myself comparisons and anger. Kap is doing amazing things right now changing lives and donating millions of dollars. His impact off the field from a societal standpoint is legendary and straight admirable.
— Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) March 24, 2018
“Back to Kaepernick, you know he got beat out by (Blaine) Gabbert, to start the (2016) season. I think that says something.”
This is some amazing revisionist history. Kaepernick was coming off surgeries on his right thumb, left shoulder and left knee. He was slow to come back over the offseason and dropped a lot of weight because he couldn’t work out. Here’s what then-49ers coach Chip Kelly said on Sept. 26 — about a month into the season — about Kaepernick not being the starter.
“I don’t think he’s ready to go full time,” Kelly said, via the Press Democrat. “He’s continuing to work on it. I think he’s over there right now. And, Kap will be the first to tell you, if you guys have been around here before, I think his playing weight has been around 225 and he’s not at that right now. So, he’s going out there and continuing to work, continuing to get better. He had a serious layoff in times in terms of being able to medical rehab. To get the full Kap for what you need, the potential that he has, he needs to continue to just work on the physical aspect of things.”
There have been roughly four million stories written on how much Gruden watches tape and studies the game. He has been propped up time and again as someone who knows the game in and out because that’s all he studies. Either he has a bad memory on this one topic or is being willfully deceptive when he characterizes what happened with Kaepernick at the start of the 2016 season.
“(But) I am surprised he’s not in camp with somebody. He probably will be soon.”
No, he probably won’t be. Just go back and read the nonsense Gruden had to say about Kaepernick to figure out why that’s the case.
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