Colin Kaepernick is worthy of being an NFL quarterback, if only because of his experience alone.
Is he a starter in the league as it stands today? That question can be debated. He did throw for 2,241 yards and 16 touchdowns last season for the San Francisco 49ers, but it has been rather obvious when watching him for the past few seasons that he’s far from the quarterback he was back in 2013 when he led San Francisco to the Super Bowl.
Still, as a backup, Kaepernick seems like he would be a no brainer. He isn’t the prototypical pocket-passer quarterback so he may not fit every system, but he still does have talent and he has plenty of experience.
Outside of the social and political distractions that come along with him, evaluating him purely as a football player — he should be in the NFL in 2017.
With that in mind. These four teams could be a good fit for him:
Long-term, Deshaun Watson is clearly the future for the Houston Texans at quarterback. The recent national champion was a superstar at Clemson and he proved that he can get it done with both his feet and his arm against NFL-like defenses. He threw for 420 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 43 yards and a touchdown against Alabama in the CFP Title game, and that’s as close to an NFL defense as you can get in college.
With that said, there is wisdom in holding a rookie quarterback out of play in year one and instead letting him learn the ropes. Aaron Rodgers sat behind Brett Favre for some time and that worked out for the Packers, right? It gives the young quarterback time to learn the ropes and develop a bit more, both mentally and physically.
The Texans could go into the season with Tom Savage as their starter, but he’s a player with no discernable experience and Houston would basically be chalking 2017 up to being a learning experience for Watson.
Or, they could sign Kaepernick for the here-and-now. He’s an experienced NFL starter who could win some games for them, especially indoors. He’d also be someone Watson could learn from. After all, Kaepernick did make his name as a dual-threat quarterback.
The Cleveland quarterback carousel may forever spin on, but for the time being it looks like DeShone Kizer will be the next man tasked with carrying the hopes of the Dawg Pound.
That’s all fine and dandy, and Kizer has a ton of potential, but the fact remains that he’ll be a rookie in 2017, and there were certainly some question marks about his game. He’s going to need some time to develop.
If not Kizer, the Browns would likely roll out Brock Osweiler, Cody Kessler or Kevin Hogan, but isn’t that asking for more of the same for this long-suffering fan base?
Basically, what does Cleveland have to lose?
Instead of throwing Kizer to the wolves of the NFL right away, the Browns can lean on Kaepernick to keep them competitive in the short term. He’s proven that he can win games, and perhaps he could help Cleveland get out of the rhythm of drafting and ruining young, exciting quarterbacks with a ton of potential within their first seasons.
Dak Prescott has superstar potential. That much was made clear in 2016 when he led the Cowboys to the playoffs in his rookie season while throwing for 3,667 yards and 23 touchdowns (only four interceptions). He also rushed for 282 yards and six touchdowns.
Here’s the problem for Dallas, though: Last season, there were games where Jerry Jones and Co. had the option of going to Tony Romo if something went wrong with Prescott, or perhaps he got hurt.
This season? Romo is no longer in Dallas and will instead be in the broadcast booth.
If something were to happen to Prescott, a potential Super Bowl team could be derailed because of a lack of a suitable backup. Would Dallas fans feel comfortable with Kellen Moore or Cooper Rush leading the show?
Of course, there was a time when Prescott was an unknown as well, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a bit more experience and talent behind Prescott just in case a worst case scenario pops up?
At the very least, Kaepernick would be a good insurance policy for Dallas.
San Francisco 49ers
Obviously, Kaepernick is a very familiar face around San Francisco and the organization has dealt with the off-field attention that comes along with him before.
As it stands, the 49ers enter 2017 with Brian Hoyer or Matt Barkley as the main options at quarterback. Rookie C.J. Beathard is an interesting option, but again, he’s a rookie. The same can be said of Nick Mullens.
With Kyle Shanahan entering his first season in San Francisco, it makes sense that he may not want to deal with the scrutiny that Kaepernick would bring to the team. With that said, winning is his most important charge and Kaepernick would be a quick fit into the organization and he arguably gives the 49ers the best chance to win in the here-and-now over all of the other names mentioned above.
The organization was obviously ready to move on from Kaepernick, or else he’d still be in a 49ers uniform. What if the ‘Niners start the season out with early struggles, though? Would it make sense to go back to the familiar face if they came out of the gate 0-4 or 0-5?
Only time will tell, but it does make sense.