Why “Colin Kaepernick Is Not Good” Is a Bad Argument

Colin Kaepernick

There’s a good chance if you’re reading this you’re either enraged or cheering me on based on the title of the article. Let’s get something clear. This is NOT a political statement. You can choose to agree or disagree with Kaepernick’s demonstrations and political opinions. That is entirely your own decision.

However, the one argument that needs to be corrected is the idea that Kaepernick is not on an NFL roster because he is not talented enough. Many argue that the former 49er is not being blacklisted by the league, but does not have the ability to play at an NFL level. That argument is utterly absurd, and represents either a limited football knowledge or football knowledge clouded by political opinion.

To make this point, we are going to look at some stats. First, let’s compare Kaepernick to Sam Bradford. The former number one overall pick played four years in St. Louis, one in Philadelphia, and two in Minnesota (although the second was marred by injuries). This past offseason he signed a one year, $20 million deal with the Arizona Cardinals. Bradford has been a consistent starting quarterback his entire career, despite losing his job in Minnesota last season to Case Keenum after an injury (and an outstanding season by Keenum).

Here is a comparison of Kaepernick and Bradford’s career stats. It is important to note that years where they played less than a quarter of the season were not included because of unreliable results.

Kaepernick
Record: 28-30 (48.3%)
Completion %: 59.9%
Passing Yards (per year): 2,447
Passing Touchdowns (per year): 14.4
Interceptions (per year): 6
QBR: 89.1

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Bradford
Record: 34-45 (43%)
Completion %: 61.7%
Passing Yards (per year): 3111
Passing Touchdowns (per year): 16.3
Interceptions (per year): 9.5
QBR: 84.4

When looking at these numbers, it seems that the quarterbacks are almost equally matched. Bradford has a slight advantage in completion percentage, as well as higher numbers in yards and touchdowns. However, Kaepernick has the advantage in average interceptions, QBR, and his overall record. These stats also don’t include Kaepernick’s rushing stats, where he has totaled 2300 yards on the ground and 13 touchdowns. Now, there is certainly more to every player than statistics, but these numbers are close enough to suggest that Kaepernick is at least comparable to a current starting NFL quarterback.

Let’s take a look at someone else. Last offseason the Bears signed Mike Glennon to a three year deal worth $45 million dollars with over $18 million guaranteed. This came after starting just eighteen games over the previous three seasons combined, and throwing just 11 (!!!) passes in 2016. Glennon became a cast off in Tampa Bay after the Buccaneers drafted Jameis Winston. Here are Glennon’s stats compared to Kaepernick’s.

Kaepernick
Record: 28-30 (48.3%)
Completion %: 59.9%
Passing Yards (per year): 2,447
Passing Touchdowns (per year): 14.4
Interceptions (per year): 6
QBR: 89.1

Glennon
Record: 6-16 (27.3%)
Completion %: 61.1%
Passing Yards (per year): 1619
Passing Touchdowns (per year): 11
Interceptions (per year): 6.7
QBR: 81.4

It is important to note that Glennon’s stats are slightly skewed because of his 2017 season that only consisted of four games. It bumped his completion percentage up significantly, and lowered his passing yards per year significantly. However, no matter how you look at it, whether by individual seasons or by career numbers, Kaepernick surpasses Glennon in nearly every statistical category.

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Now, for the sake of the argument, let’s just say that statistics don’t tell the whole story, and Kaepernick isn’t good enough to be a starting quarterback. What about as a backup quarterback, like New England’s Brian Hoyer?

Kaepernick
Record: 28-30 (48.3%)
Completion %: 59.9%
Passing Yards (per year): 2,447
Passing Touchdowns (per year): 14.4
Interceptions (per year): 6
QBR: 89.1

Hoyer
Record: 16-21 (43%)
Completion %: 59.6%
Passing Yards (per year): 1,601
Passing Touchdowns (per year): 7.3
Interceptions (per year): 4.7
QBR: 81.5

For this comparison, Hoyer had a great statistical advantage because every season in which he started a game was added, including 2012 and 2013 in which he started one and three games, respectively. Despite the boost that he got from having single game stats instead of season stats, he is still far below Kaepernick in every single statistical category except interceptions.

On top of all of these comparisons of statistics is the fact that Kaepernick and Hoyer are the only two to actually start a playoff game (Hoyer played in one game for Houston, in which they got trounced and he threw four interceptions). He played in six playoff games, including a Super Bowl, and put up solid numbers (58%, 1374 yards, 7 passing touchdowns). Some might try to argue that he did not “lead” his teams through those playoff runs like other quarterbacks have. While Kaepernick was certainly aided by fantastic 49ers defenses and great coaching, to argue that he did not play a major role in the team’s playoff success would be absurd. He played well for a young quarterback and was a catalyst in the team’s success.

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You might disagree with Kaepernick’s stance. That’s your prerogative. You might even agree that the NFL owners are making a good decision by not signing Kaepernick because of his political decisions. You’re entitled to that belief. But to argue that Colin Kaepernick is not actually capable of being an NFL quarterback is utterly ludicrous. His numbers are comparable to other NFL starters, and even if you don’t want him as a starter, he would be the best backup quarterback in the league, bar none.

Just some facts for your Tuesday.

Until next time – B$

Brian Cole

Brian Cole

Author ProfootballTalkLine.com at SportsTalkLine.com
Expert on all things Deflategate, and New England Patriots Writer for SportsTalkLine.com
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