Regardless of public opinion, Kaepernick is still one of the better quarterbacks in the game
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is still on the NFL free agent market. Which is a shame considering all he's accomplished in just a few seasons. Since 2011 he's thrown for 12,271 yards, has 2,300 rushing yards, and 85 total touchdowns. He also helped guide the 49ers to back-to-back playoff appearances (2012-13), including an NFC West title and appearance in Super Bowl XLVII (the franchise's first in 18 years) his first season as a starter (2012).
He's been looking for a new team since becoming a free agent after the 2016 season, during which he started the national anthem protests that have ignited a new wave of social activism and awareness across the country. Teams have been reluctant to sign him due to the polarizing nature of Kaepernick's stance on the anthem and other issues.
His beliefs and personal convictions, however, do not change the fact that Kaepernick is better than many of the quarterbacks currently on active rosters. He has said that he's willing to be a backup in order to play again. Training camps will be starting up soon, here are five teams that could definitely use Kaepernick's services.
1. Chicago Bears
Mitchell Trubisky is without a doubt the Bears starting quarterback. But some feel that the depth behind him is lacking. Currently Chase Daniel and Tyler Bray occupy those spots on the depth chart. The lack of experience however is a little bit glaring as both men have combined for 79 career pass attempts. While they may be familiar with the offensive scheme of head coach Matt Nagy, the question is whether or not they could lead this offense to success if Trubisky was ever out of the picture.
2. Cleveland Browns
The Browns are on the verge of starting their 29th quarterback since 1999, so why not give Kaepernick a shot? Cleveland's current signal-callers have either had inconsistent careers or lack experience. Tyrod Taylor was acquired in the offseason, but he went from being a backup in Baltimore (where he was a member of the Ravens team that defeated Kaepernick's 49ers to win Super Bowl XLVII) to a starter in Buffalo where he never played a full 16-game season. The other quarterbacks on the roster are No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield (who needs time to develop), Drew Stanton (a career backup with more INTs than TDs), and Brogan Roback (an undrafted rookie).
With all of the offensive talent that the Browns have added, Kaepernick appears to be an ideal fit to help Cleveland take a step forward.
3. New York Jets
Letting Ryan Fitzpatrick go after the 2016 season was probably a mistake on the Jets' part. Especially when you consider that Geno Smith, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg didn't exactly pan out. There are question marks surrounding the current crop of quarterbacks as well. Rookie Sam Darnold (third overall pick) is still learning the nuances of the NFL, Teddy Bridgewater has only played one game since sustaining a serious knee injury before the start of the 2016 season, and last year's starter Josh McCown (38 years old) can't play forever.
Adding Kaepernick would give the Jets a security blanket at the position. Plus it helps that the front office has stated that they would foot the bill for any player that is fined for protesting the anthem under the new policy the owners approved this offseason.
4. Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck continues to make his way back from last season's shoulder surgery. He just began throwing a football last month and the Colts are taking the wait-and-see approach with him. Kaepernick would be ready to go if Luck can't so the Colts should consider bringing him in. The other quarterbacks on the roster are Jacoby Brissett (17 career starts), Brad Kaaya (has yet to play a regular season game) and Philip Walker (mostly a practice squad player), each of whom lack big game experience.
5. Seattle Seahawks
This could be the perfect destination for Kaepernick. As he began his protest and social activism the Seahawks followed his lead and are one of the teams that seem unified in their stance with this issue. Football-wise, Seattle runs an offense tailored to the dual-threat skill set of Russell Wilson. Trevone Boykin has served as Wilson's backup the past few seasons, but he was released by the team in March following allegations of domestic assault stemming from an altercation with his girlfriend.
That leaves Austin Davis and Alex McGough as the options behind Wilson on the depth chart. Davis has some experience (16 games played) but lacks the athletic ability that Wilson and Kaepernick have. McGough was the team's seventh-round pick this year and will probably start his career on the practice squad and that's if the Seahawks choose to keep him. With Kaepernick on board, Seattle's offense would be in good hands should Wilson get hurt because the two are similar in skill set and playing style.
-- Gabe Salgado is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He's also written for NBC, Fox, The Sporting News, The Sports Journal, The Undefeated and Complex. He's a co-host of The Rewind Sports: 60. Follow him on Twitter @GabeSalgado82.