Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports



San Francisco 49ers fans may not typically care what Richard Sherman has to say but for those who are Colin Kaepernick fans, what he said on "ESPN First Take" on Friday may interest you.

The Seattle Seahawks cornerback was asked if the former 49ers quarterback was being blackballed by NFL teams. "I'm sure he is," Sherman said. "It's difficult to see because he's played at such a high level, and you see guys, quarterbacks, who have never played at a high level being signed by teams. So it's difficult to understand. Obviously, he's going to be in a backup role at this point. But you see quarterbacks, there was a year Matt Schaub had a pretty rough year and got signed the next year. So it has nothing to do with football. You can see that. They signed guys who have had off years before."

Later, Sherman changed his mind about Kaepernick having to settle for a backup role in the NFL. "You don't have 32 starting-level quarterbacks in this league," Sherman said. "You have about eight elites, and then you have the rest of the league. You have about eight, nine elite quarterbacks. You have two or three who have the potential to be elite. And then you have the rest of the teams. So he could play and start on a ton of teams in this league. He would be a starter on probably 20 of the teams in this league. But you're telling me that you're going to let other guys, you're going to pick up some of these other guys and tell me that they're starters?"

The cornerback went on to say that it is still early in the offseason and indicated that things could change quickly. The show of support from Sherman is interesting considering the once fierce rivalry that the 49ers and Seahawks shared. Sherman has been very vocal about the players who he does not respect, including former 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree, who is now with the Oakland Raiders.

Kaepernick remains a free agent after voiding the final year of his contract earlier this month. Had Kaepernick not opted out of his contract, it was very likely that the 49ers would have cut the quarterback because of his $14.9 million due heading into the 2017 season.

While Kaepernick's protest of the national anthem during the 2016 season has been blamed for the lack of interest in the quarterback, he has continued his humanitarian efforts. Kaepernick has donated $100,000 every month to organizations that support his views on racial discrimination and social injustice, secured a 60-ton cargo plane to help send food and water to the needy in Somalia and donated $50,000 to Meals on Wheels. He has also said that he will end his national anthem protest and will now stand for the national anthem during the 2017 season.

According to 49ers general manager John Lynch, an NFL team came close to signing Kaepernick in the opening days of free agency, but the deal apparently fell through.

Sherman isn't the only player to question the NFL's stance on Kaepernick. Former teammate Torrey Smith, now with the Philadelphia Eagles, said that he cannot believe that his former quarterback is still unsigned. Academy Award-nominated director Spike Lee also expressed his thoughts on the league's refusal to sign Kaepernick after having brunch with the quarterback.