Two months into NFL free agency, Colin Kaepernick is still unsigned and there have been few reports of teams interested in him.
The reasons vary — some think Kaepernick hasn’t shown enough as a passer to interest many teams, while others believe some teams won’t sign because of his national anthem protest last season. Some believe it’s a combination of factors.
Kaepernick hasn’t totally gone missing, however. Last week, he was seen handing out suits in front of a parole office in New York City. On Saturday, May 6, Kaepernick held his Know Your Rights camp in Chicago, an event that gave campers advice on “how to deal with police officers when detained, financial literacy, holistic health, and college preparation among other things,” according to Evan F. Moore of The Shadow League.
According to MMQB’s Peter King, who was embedded with the San Francisco 49ers during the NFL Draft, some within the team think Kaepernick’s passion for social work may be stronger than his desire to play football.
“I spent a long draft weekend with the Niners in California, and there are those in the building who think Kaepernick might actually rather do social justice work full-time than play quarterback.”
This idea has been floated before. At the beginning of last season, it was unclear if Kaepernick would make the 49ers, due to both the negative attention surrounding his protest and several offseason surgeries that physically limited him. Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman reported in August that some within the NFL believed if Kaepernick was cut the from the 49ers, he would pursue social work off of the field.
“I’ve heard from people close to Kaepernick that he fully expected to be released by the 49ers once everyone became aware of his actions, and he also knew his football career would be in jeopardy. I’ve also been told Kaepernick would then dedicate his life to one of social activism.”
It’s unclear what will happen next for Kaepernick’s career. As King states, in a league desperate for competent passers, it’s hard to believe an athletic quarterback who was playing in the Super Bowl just four years ago has no market. In an offseason where Tony Romo and Jay Cutler both retired rather than signing with another team, where the Bears paid $45 million for Mike Glennon and traded four draft picks to draft Mitchell Trubisky, surely someone would be interested in Kaepernick’s services.
However, perhaps Kaepernick no longer has much interest in playing football and is focusing on his off-field pursuits instead. If he remains unsigned, it would not be surprising to hear his name pop up in rumors for a quarterback-needy team, much like people expect from Romo and Cutler this season.