San Francisco 49ers: Could Colin Kaepernick’s Banishment Be Over Soon?

Nov 6, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) controls the ball against the New Orleans Saints during the first quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 6, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) controls the ball against the New Orleans Saints during the first quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kapernick has generated little interest as a free agent thus far – a situation that could reportedly be changing soon.

Colin Kaepernick, the one-time face of the San Francisco 49ers, has generated absolutely zero interest on the free agent market. Which, given his skills and abilities – not to mention some of the quarterbacks who are gainfully employed – is mind-boggling. But his banishment from the league could potentially be coming to an end, as Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks said he would be interested in taking a look at him.

It wasn’t all that long ago when Kaepernick came off the bench to lead the 49ers to three consecutive NFC title games, but a Super Bowl as well. At the time, he was being hailed by many as the face of the NFL and the prototype for the new NFL quarterback – a dual threat who was equally deadly with his arm and his feet.

Oh, how times have changed though.

Given then absolute dysfunction within the 49ers’ organization and Jim Harbaugh being run out of town on a rail, the entire team was thrown into chaos. And the power struggle between Harbaugh and the Jed York/Trent Baalke regime adversely impacted the product on the field.

Harbaugh’s final season – one filled with more drama and turmoil than your average soap opera – saw the team go from three straight NFC title games to 8-8 and out of the playoffs. And since then, they’ve seen an exodus of players, coaches, and the number of losses continuing to mount.

And during that run of futility, the 49ers – who’d once been a model of stability – went through three coaches in three years. Given all of that turmoil and turnover – not to mention, the repeated system changes – it seems reasonable to expect production to decline as players adapt to it all.

San Francisco 49ers
December 24, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) before playing against the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

After all, it takes a little time to learn a new system, and if they’re just getting used to one, then having to come back the next season and learn another – it’s understandable that a player’s effectiveness and production would take a header.

And amidst the turmoil within the organization, Kaepernick struggled mightily. Over that span, he put together a 10-14 record as a starter, completed a tick under 60 percent of his passes for 4,984 yards, 25 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

More than anything, Kaepernick seemed to suffer from a crisis of confidence – one that led him to being benched in favor of Blaine Gabbert. Which would seem to be an indignity all on its own. But that more or less signalled the beginning of the end for Kaepernick in San Francisco.

And then came his infamous protest of the National Anthem – something widely applauded in some circles, demonized in others.

In the midst of all that drama though, Kaepernick had something of a rebound year in 2016 – and we use the word “rebound” quite loosely. As a starter last season, he put together an agonizingly woeful record of 1-10, but completed 59 percent of his passes for 2,241 yards and threw 16 touchdowns against just four interceptions.

It’s his touchdown to interception ratio that should be noted. The team struggled terribly last year, but that can’t all be put on Kaepernick’s shoulders. The 49ers seriously lacked any sort of talent in 2016 and the personnel they did have, weren’t necessarily the best fit for the system former coach Chip Kelly wanted to run.

Simply put, the players San Francisco had on the roster last season didn’t mesh with Kelly’s system, and that led to most of the team’s struggles on the field. Square pegs, round holes, and all that.

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But it’s being suggested that Kaepernick’s time on the unemployed list could possibly be coming to an end. Maybe.

Seattle Seahawks HC Pete Carroll recently said that in an effort to add some depth behind starter Russell Wilson, that he’s interested in taking a look at both Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III.

"“We’re looking at everybody. We really are. We’ve been tracking everything that’s going on, and we’ve got cap and roster issues and stuff like that that we’re still trying to manage properly. But quite frankly, yes, we are looking at all those guys.”"

Given the recent – and repeated – legal issues facing current backup Trevone Boykin, it’s possible that the Seahawks are looking for a little insurance. They haven’t released Boykin yet, and they may not, but it remains a possibility.

Wilson has yet to miss a start in his career, but he did battle some injuries that impacted his effectiveness last season.

Which means that in the event that they release Boykin, or Wilson goes down with injury, they’ll need a capable, mobile backup to step into the role – which explains their interest in both Kaepernick and Griffin. Either one seems like they would be a very good fit in Carroll’s system.

At the moment, it’s simply Carroll spitballing his ideas. Nothing is certain or pending. But this could be the first bit of interest in Kaepernick since he hit the open market. Which is significant in that it would end the perceived blackballing of Kaepernick for his political beliefs. But it would also be a very Carroll thing to do – buck the norms.

There’s no telling how this plays out just yet, but at least Kaepernick is drawing a little bit of interest. Finally.