49ers: Why the team should consider a reunion with Colin Kaepernick

49ers, Colin Kaepernick (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
49ers, Colin Kaepernick (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /

Could the San Francisco 49ers consider a reunion with former QB Colin Kaepernick?

The NFL seems to have had a major change of heart in recent weeks that may open to door for a team like the San Francisco 49ers to make a major acquisition.

For the past four years, former quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been out of the league. After posting his worst statistical season in 2015, Kaepernick became the first player to publicly kneel during the national anthem.

His stated goal was to bring attention to racial inequality and police brutality. However, the perceived disrespect toward the flag became a national point of controversy that drew ire from many groups.

However, recent events have seemed to change the national perception in an instant. Now, perhaps more than ever, the world is open to viewing Kaepernick’s actions not as a threat, but rather, as a spotlight for needed change.

In fact, a number of other NFL stars are planning to follow the QB’s lead by kneeling when the 2020 season begins.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also recently stated his support for Kaepernick to sign with an NFL franchise. Players like Malcolm Jenkins and Carlos Hyde have also called for his return.

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Could this open the door for the former dual-threat star to make a return to the NFL? It seems more likely now than at any other point in recent years.

Even more specifically, could the only team that Kaepernick has ever played for be a smart fit? Let’s take an in-depth look at what a reunion with the 49ers could look like.

Colin Kaepernick’s Age

The former Nevada superstar is currently 32-years-old and hasn’t played at the professional level in nearly a half-decade. However, he proved in a recent workout that he has remained in excellent shape and is still capable of making NFL caliber throws.

His rushing ability, which was the trait that made him a major threat during his first stint in the league, still makes him a dangerous athlete.

While his age may have implied his career would be on the decline in a past incarnation of the NFL, the modern standard would seem to indicate that he could produce at a high level for several more seasons.

After all, players like Tom Brady (42), Drew Brees (41), Philip Rivers (38), and Ben Roethlisberger (38), are still projected to perform at a playoff-caliber level in 2020 and beyond.

The 49ers’ Depth

The 49ers currently boast a considerable amount of depth at the quarterback position. Primary backup Nick Mullens put together an admirable stretch in 2018 when he started eight games and posted 2,277 yards, 13 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, and a 64.2 percent completion percentage.

C.J. Beathard on the other hand is one of the best third-string signal-callers in the league. He proved he belonged in the NFL when he posted 2,682 yards, 12 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, and a 57.3 percent completion percentage during 13 appearances between 2017-2018.

However, both players are young and relatively unproven. Adding a player like Kaepernick to spot incumbent starter Jimmy Garoppolo could be a major upgrade for a team with high aspirations of the coming years.

While Garoppolo has led the team to great success as a starter, he does have a concerning injury history. The hopes of the team would be immediately dashed if anything were to affect the health of their starter.

Kaepernick could give the team a fighting chance in the event the unthinkable occurred. He could also potentially be used in special packages under the offensive brilliance of head coach Kyle Shanahan.

The Concerns

All that being said, signing Colin Kaepernick would be a bold move for a team that, as currently constituted, has legitimate hopes of winning the Super Bowl this season.

Not only would he bring more media attention than any other singular player in the league, but he would also likely demand a considerable salary.

While the team currently has just over $15 million in cap space, it is unknown if they view Kaepernick as enough of an asset to agree to contractual terms. Or if Kaepernick would be seriously interested.

It’s also fair to wonder if the signal-caller would consider rejoining the vigorous workout schedule and physical demand of the NFL for a backup role. The concerns surrounding COVID-19 only adds more potential issues.

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The Conclusion

The 49ers have every reason to expect to be a dominant postseason contender again in 2020. The additions of weapons like Brandon Aiyuk should allow Garoppolo to continue to thrive in San Francisco’s brilliant offensive scheme.

In my mind, the decision to sign Kaepernick comes down to two major factors.

  • 1. Would the addition be worth the impending media circus?
  • 2. Would he provide a tangible upgrade over Mullens and Beathard?

I don’t see the media attention as a major issue. It seems as though the narrative around Kaepernick has shifted enough to allow the quarterback to return without bringing a major controversy.

This is particularly true for a team like the 49ers. The Bay Area is known for its progressive culture. It would seem to be an ideal fit.

The second question is much more interesting. I happen to be excited at the prospects of both 49ers’ backup QBs. I think both could perform well in limited action should they be required to do so (much like the Teddy Bridgewater role for the New Orleans Saints in 2019).

However, the idea of either lining up under center in a meaningful game (postseason or otherwise) is concerning. Kaepernick would be a theoretical upgrade that would also free the team up to trade one of their current backups for semi-valuable capital.

Next. 49ers: 3 veterans in danger of losing their roster spots. dark

It’s not a slam dunk, but, for the right price, it is worth a serious look.

What do you think about the potential reunion between Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers?