ESPN Analyst Shuts Down 'Performance Argument' in Colin Kaepernick Debate

With Colin Kaepernick continuing to be without a job in the NFL, there are various reasons given for explanation. According to ESPN analyst Jason Reid, however, there is one reason he believes is no longer valid. As explained on Wednesday, there is no credible argument for Kaepernick not having a job due to performance.

Wednesday morning, Reid sat down with the hosts of First Take to provide further explanation about why Kaepernick doesn't have a job in the NFL. Performance, or a lack thereof, has been used in the past as an argument for why teams keep overlooking the former San Francisco 49ers QB when other signal-callers get injured. This is no longer valid, according to Reid, based upon the other players that have been given opportunities in recent years.

"We can debate how many teams he should start for," Reid said. "But there is no credible argument as to the fact that this guy cannot be one of the top 32 or top 64 quarterbacks in the league. The NFL does not want Colin Kaepernick."

"And when you see guys being signed who can't throw the ball from point A to point B without even throwing an interception or falling down," Reid continued, "what it says is that they simply do not want this guy."

As Reid continued to explain, there are many reasons for this lack of opportunities, but one possible option is that Kaepernick settled his collusion case against the NFL for an undisclosed amount of money back in March. There is a very real possibility that they simply do not want to pay him any more money. Of course, the owners could simply be trying to avoid any potential distractions based on the political climate in the country.

Regardless of the true decision, Reid truly believes that there is no performance argument for Kaepernick not having a job, which is understandable considering his experience in the playoffs and near-victory in Super Bowl XLVII. There is also the added evidence of quarterbacks such as Blake Bortles, Brock Osweiler, and Tyrod Taylor seeing considerable opportunities.

Taylor is viewed as a very efficient quarterback overall given that he only throws interceptions on 1.5 percent of his pass attempts. However, he has been replaced as the starter due to injuries and a lack of explosive plays. Taylor has been a solid role player, but his track record of success pales in comparison to Kaepernick's.

Bortles and Osweiler, on the other hand, have both experienced moments of success but were also inconsistent during their starting tenures with the Jaguars and the Broncos, Texans, and Dolphins, respectively. Coaches and analysts were unclear as to what type of quarterback play would be seen on any given week.

In 36 career games, Osweiler threw 31 interceptions, including 16 in 2016, and was viewed as a liability during Houston's playoff loss to the New England Patriots. Osweiler was even benched for Tom Savage late in the season.

Bortles, who was the third overall pick in 2014, was the Jacksonville Jaguars starting quarterback for five seasons and threw 75 interceptions as opposed to 103 touchdowns. He led the Jaguars to the AFC Championship Game during the 2017 season, but otherwise achieved a win-loss record of only 26-50.

For comparison's sake, Kaepernick started 58 games over his six-year stint with the 49ers and only threw 30 interceptions. This includes one season in which he reached double-digit picks (10), as opposed to Bortles throwing more than 10 in all five of his seasons as the starter.


Statistics aside, Kaepernick's style of play proved to be a headache for opposing defenses, which was evidenced by his playoff battle against the Green Bay Packers. During this game in January 2013, Kaepernick rushed for 181 yards and two touchdowns, constantly confusing the Packers defense. He also added in 263 yards and another two scores through the air. The 49ers won 45-31 and advanced in the postseason.

Given his track record of success in the league and his ability as a dual-threat quarterback, it seems far more likely that Kaepernick would get an opportunity in the NFL, which only adds to Reid's point. Granted, there were some mistakes made in his career, including some misses on easy reads during his final years with the 49ers, but Kaepernick still provided a competitive spark for the Bay Area team.