Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports



When Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee suggested that Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan may want to keep Colin Kaepernick around if he becomes the San Francisco 49ers' next head coach, the response was predictable. It was split between those who are in favor or at least would be willing to take a wait and see approach, and then those who spit out their morning coffee, drove their cars off the side of the road or fell out of their chairs backward onto the floor. Ok, so maybe I'm just imagining those reactions, but there are obviously those who very clearly think that would be a grave mistake: and they are passionate about it.

After all, Colin Kaepernick is a very polarizing figure, and was, to a lesser extent, even before his national anthem protest. What's strange to me, though, is that Kaepernick seems to be the only quarterback in the NFL who gets evaluated by the media and fans completely devoid of any statistical analysis. When it comes to Kaepernick, let's not bring stats into it.

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When presented with Kaepernick statistics, many people simply shrug them off with such jewels as, "forget that, he's still garbage," or "bro, leave it alone and just face the facts, he can't read a defense," or "he throws every ball 100 miles per hour." Adjectives such as trash, terrible, horrible, or my favorite "the worst quarterback in the league," litter every single comment section where a Kaepernick article appears.

Just scroll down to the comment section of the very article you're reading now and watch as the area fills up with people calling me a Krapernick lover, homer, blind, idiot and other names for simply suggesting that we actually look at his statistical body of work to evaluate him. How dare I suggest that?

Why do people cling to statistics when discussing other quarterbacks, but reject them when discussing Kaepernick? I could sit here and guess, but I won't. What I will offer is some statistical facts to the conversation: not my opinion about whether or not he can read a defense (as if I was sitting in the 49ers offensive meeting room knowing what he was supposed to read) but simply just facts. Of course, this is not every single statistical category that could be measured, but those that are generally associated with measuring proficient quarterback play. By the way, there are no rushing statistics here, only passing. Everyone knows what his legs bring to the table already.

1) Kaepernick ranks second in Lowest Pass Interception % in NFL History at 1.8%. Aaron Rodgers ranks first with a percentage of 1.5%.

2) Kaepernick ranks #17 all-time in Career Passer Rating at 88.9 just ahead of (18) Carson Palmer, (19) Derek Carr, (20) Daunte Culpepper, (21) Jeff Garcia, (22) Andrew Luck and (23) Matthew Stafford.

3) Kaepernick has the 5th highest Touchdown to Interception ratio in NFL history at 2.40 to 1, which is just ahead of (6) Steve Young, (7) Peyton Manning, (8) Tony Romo, (9) Drew Brees and (10) Matt Ryan.

4) Kaepernick's 2016 Touchdown to Interception ratio was 4 to 1. He threw 16 touchdowns and 4 interceptions while starting 11 games. Alex Smith, the quarterback Kaepernick is most compared to, for obvious reasons, threw fewer touchdowns and more interceptions than Kaepernick (15 touchdowns and 8 interceptions) while starting all 16 games. This was accomplished while throwing to the worst receiving corps in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus.

5) Kaepernick has a career completion % of 59.8. That percentage is low, but coincidentally, it is the exact same completion percentage posted by Cam Newton in his MVP season of 2015. This would suggest that even though you would obviously want this number to increase, it does not preclude a quarterback from having a successful season with a good team around him, as evidenced by Newton's MVP, 15-1 regular season and conference championship in 2015.

I don't know what the 49ers incoming general manager and head coach will decide to do. What I do know is that Kaepernick, assuming he doesn't opt out of his contract, has one-year left on the deal at a reasonable salary for a starting NFL quarterback. If the new brain trust are looking for a veteran quarterback to serve as a bridge to the quarterback of the future, or simply for a one-year test drive to see how he would respond in Shanahan's offense, then the quarterback that is already signed to the team might be a pretty good option, and not some horrible doomsday scenario as many would like you to believe. At least that's what the statistics suggest.