Kaepernick will not return to the 49ers in 2017
Kaepernick is opting out
Today, Colin Kaepernick chose to use his player option to opt out and go into free agency. This marks the end of the quarterback’s time in San Francisco in a career of both ups and downs. It isn’t clear yet where he will find work in the league for the 2017 regular season, but his talents will help him with the search for a new team.
Kaepernick’s time with the 49ers
It all began when the 49ers used their second round pick on the quarterback from the University of Nevada. He came into the league known for his athletic ability and a strong arm. He didn’t play until his sophomore year in the NFL when Alex Smith went down with a concussion against the St. Louis Rams. Kaepernick took over as the starter and helped guide the 49ers to the Super Bowl, and was one pass away from bringing San Francisco their sixth Lombardi Trophy.
Analysts praised Kaepernick as someone that was a part of the new quarterback revolution. He was in the category of the new age of signal callers who could beat teams with both his arm and legs and showed a dynamic playing style that made him a weapon against defenses.
However, this notion wouldn’t last very long. Kaepernick began to regress in the later years of the Harbaugh era. Defensive coordinators began to quickly game plan against him, because of this he started to lose his credibility as a quarterback.
He would eventually lose his starting job in 2015, as he was benched for Blaine Gabbert. Many speculated that his time in San Francisco would be over much sooner as the team searched for trade options for Kaepernick.
Kaepernick in 2016
The team chose to keep him and wanted Kaepernick to compete for the starting spot. However, he made more of a stir with his bold political justice move of sitting during the national anthem. It was a move that was controversial and put him under the political microscope over his reasoning for doing this. He stated that he did it because of the cruel way that law enforcement treats African Americans in the USA.
I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.
Kaepernick maintained this protest all throughout the season and even gave some of his money and clothing to areas affected by the very subject that he was saying.
On the playing field, he didn’t get to start until week six against the Bills after Chip Kelly chose to bench Gabbert. It started off a bit rocky for Kaepernick, but he eventually stopped being tentative. His winning record wasn’t the best, as Kaepernick was 1-10 after being named the starting quarterback. He did, however, show improvement in his play from 2015 and helped the 49ers with what made him so famous as a player from the start.
What this means for the 49ers
Now that Kaepernick won’t be an option for the quarterback position for next season, Kyle Shanahan will need to think of a new choice for starting quarterback. The market is limited in free agency, and the draft class isn’t that much better either. The depth chart for the 49ers from last season isn’t promising as well. There isn’t much a team can do with Gabbert or Christian Ponder. Because of this, Shanahan may need to trade away the second overall pick for the quarterback he wants. Or better yet, go after a quarterback in the later rounds of the draft.
As far as with Kaepernick, the fans can only wish the best for him. He gave the fans so much to cheer for and to be excited about. Hopefully, he’ll find a new home in the league. Better yet, let’s hope that he can start next season and show off why he was a household name.