Colin Kaepernick’s Disgraceful 2016 Season Might Be His Last in the NFL

Colin Kaepernick has been surrounded by controversy this entire season. It all began with Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem, which stirred up strong emotions on both sides of the issue. His idea of a “social protest” soon became one of the biggest hot-button issues of 2016. Some felt that the San Francisco 49ers quarterback was disrespecting the flag and the country’s principles by kneeling in protest during the national anthem. Others thought that Kaepernick was merely exercising his right to protest, a bedrock on which the United States was founded.

In addition to taking a knee during the national anthem, Kaepernick also announced that he has never registered to vote, and would not be voting in the November 8th presidential election because he did not support either candidate. More recently he was seen wearing a shirt showing photos of former Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, in a meeting with the late civil rights activist Malcolm X. ESPN radio and TV host Dan Le Batard, who is Cuban-American, tweeted: “You can agree with Kaepernick’s stance/reason AND think he’s a dope for wearing a Fidel Castro T-shirt.

Although some have defended Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the National Anthem, it’s hard to continue defending someone who has proven themselves unworthy of the unique voice and spotlight they were given. Forfeiting his freedom to participate in our country’s democracy and then idolizing a leader who spent his entire career taking away such freedoms has exposed Colin Kaepernick as misguided, ignorant and confused.

As you’d expect, NFL fans have not given Kaepernick a warm reception at any of the 49ers away games this year. He has been constantly booed all season long, and many fans have been seen burning his jersey in response to his Un-American comments. However, it wasn’t just the opposing team’s fans that expressed their displeasure with Kaepernick. During the 49ers season opener against the Los Angeles Rams, the crowd at Levi’s Stadium booed Colin Kaepernick and chanted “USA! USA!”.

After Kaepernick earned the starting spot over Blaine Gabbart, he had the opportunity to redeem himself in the eyes of the San Francisco 49ers fans. All he had to do was keep his mouth shut, and focus on winning games for his team. Unfortunately, after nine games as a starter, Kaepernick managed to register just 1 win against the equally unimpressive LA Rams in their final game of the season. His 54.8 completion percentage ranks among the lowest of starting quarterbacks this year. He struggled with accuracy, pocket awareness and getting the ball deep to his receivers in Chip Kelly’s offense.

Now that the season is finally over for the 49ers, their #1 priority is figuring out the Colin Kaepernick conundrum. The front office is clearly tired of Kaepernick and wanted him gone even before the 2016 season started. However, Colin’s stock has dropped extremely low after a season full of off-field controversy combined with the lowest overall ranking of any starting QB. Ideally, the 49ers would like to trade Kaepernick, but it’s unlikely that there’s any team willing to pay his scheduled $11.9 million salary. If the 49ers get lucky, Kaepernick will take advantage of his player option and opt-out of his 2017 contract, at which point he’ll become an unrestricted free agent.

If Kaepernick decides to become an unrestricted free agent next year, he may have some trouble finding a team willing to sign him. Owners and coaches throughout the NFL have made it very clear how much they dislike Colin Kaepernick and the distractions that follow him. Even without the off-field controversy surrounding Kaepernick, his play over the last couple seasons hasn’t inspired much confidence that he can win games in the NFL. We believe the odds are highly stacked against Colin Kaepernick playing in the NFL next season.