Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Why the 49ers Need to Sign and Start Colin Kaepernick

Gilbert Brink
Nov 9, 2020 at 7:24 AM

The 49ers' season is all but lost. A once promising "revenge tour" has turned into a sad, spiraling train wreck of injuries and inconsistent play. Make no mistake, this 49ers team isn't going to have some miraculous turn-around. They are who they are, and who they are is a mediocre football team.

49ers fans aren't foreign to this feeling. Watching their team march through the malaise of November and December, trying to find a reason to stay tuned in while other teams forage forward with their Super Bowl aspirations. Quite frankly, this is a challenge that the majority of NFL franchises face every year. Once the realistic opportunity at a Super Bowl run is over, how do teams keep their fans invested in the product they are putting out for consumption?

In 2018, current 49ers starting QB Nick Mullens provided a spark to the offense, writing his tale of undrafted QB who racked up passing yards while exposing the football universe to the hidden gem that was George Kittle. 49ers fans embraced this underdog QB story, but that was a different time. The 49ers weren't coming fresh off a Super Bowl loss and looking to make their way back to seal the deal. Also, 2020 Nick Mullens is wishing he could find his 2018 self as he has looked completely lost in 2 of 3 of his starts and failed to provide the 49ers with much of anything. In 2018, he was actually the 3rd string QB; that role belongs to C.J. Beathard this year. The 49ers already know there is no genie in that lamp, hence the signing of journeyman Josh Johnson this past week.

They signed the wrong quarterback. As Kyle Shanahan tries to piece together an offense with scrap-heap parts, there is a man out there, jettisoned unjustly by the league 4 years ago, who could provide a true spark to this team. He is the last quarterback the 49ers started prior to the Shanahan/Lynch regime taking over. He is, none other than Colin Kaepernick. The name alone is likely to cause a myriad of responses from 49ers fans. Many have memories of championship opportunities lost with the ball in his hands, others have a fond appreciation for the stand he took against police brutality and systemic racism. Disregarding all social issues, the last time Kaepernick played in the NFL he led the 49ers with a 16/4 touchdown to interception ratio and a 90.7 QB rating. Impressive stats, no matter how you want to dissect his performance. You won't find anyone to debate that Kaepernick isn't more physically gifted than the currently available 49ers QBs, nor can anyone argue that Kaepernick hasn't accomplish much more than Mullens and Beathard combined.

The argument to add Colin Kaepernick has very little to do with performance. The 49ers are getting next-to-nothing from their current QB corps. No, the 49ers should sign Colin Kaepernick to right a historical wrong while also providing the fans of this great franchise with something to get excited about. Logistically, the 49ers have a bye week in Week 11, giving them 3 weeks to try and catch him up to speed to run a basic, vanilla version of the 49ers offense. It can be done. It should be done. In 2016, the 49ers stood by Kaepernick as he kneeled for injustice. Since then, the NFL has collectively boycotted Kaepernick and kept him from taking the field for any of the 32 organizations.

There have been plenty of lessons in the year 2020. One of the ones that we, and even the NFL, can no longer ignore is that Colin Kaepernick was right. Racism, social injustice, and police brutality have been amplified more than ever on the national stage. Whether it be George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, or Jacob Blake, the message that Kaepernick was trying to spread in 2016 wasn't ahead of its time. But we, as a nation, were incredibly far behind. Kaepernick's career was brought down by trying to do the right thing. Today, the 49ers should do the right thing.

Signing Colin Kaepernick would be much more than just a moral victory for football, the 49ers, and the NFL. San Francisco seems to be in a transitional phase at quarterback. Many believe that the 49ers will turn away from the traditional pocket-passer type QB in Jimmy Garoppolo and turn towards some of the more athletically dynamic dual-threat QBs coming out in the 2021 draft. Colin Kaepernick could serve as an experimental bridge for the 49ers and head coach Kyle Shanahan, allowing them to get a glimpse at what a Shanahan-style offense could be when empowered with the talents of a mobile, dual-threat passer.

The final argument for Colin Kaepernick is the simplest one. He will help this team win more games than the quarterbacks the 49ers currently have available. I would feel better with Colin Kaepernick taking the field Sunday vs. New Orleans than I would if the team trots out Mullens or Beathard. This year has been tough enough on all of us and the emptiness of a lost season with little to cheer for is the last thing any of us needs. So, I say to the 49ers: for history, for Colin, and for the fans, do the right thing.
The views within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


  • essay
    The 49ers don't have the "cap" space to afford Kaep. His asking price is $20M a year. Besides being a lightning rod of controversy, that's probably the real reason teams aren't signing him.
    Nov 10, 2020 at 10:47 PM
  • Daniners
    PLEASE STOP!!! No, we don't need Kaepernick. He's not accurate and can't go through progressions or read defenses. Just like Jimmy. If he had been Russell Wilson, he could have sat on his head for the national anthem. Simple as that.
    Nov 10, 2020 at 9:21 PM
  • ttime1
    That is all:
    Nov 10, 2020 at 9:11 PM
  • Rrivers
    This fool singlehandedly derailed the greatest nation on earth. FAIL
    Nov 10, 2020 at 3:24 PM
  • GSpac
    Thank you all for your bigoted comment against this man, this player. It appear that most of you still miss the point of this whole situation that transpired initially from the very beginning of the demise of this team. Quickly folks here forget that it wasn't Kaep's fault for the current stage of this team -- this league. It was Jed York/Trent Baalke - remember them? Kaep demise started the moment these feckless imbeciles started to mess with a sure thing in Harbaugh. Place your blame there. As far as I know/seen, Kaep's kneeling before a game did not impact his performance on the field, nor the chemistry he had with his fellow teammates. In fact, this league had done everything to emulate him and his style. You see this in Mahomes, Jackson, Watson, and a few others. This is a team game fellas. One man can't embellish his skills to impact an organization, destine to loose, by the personnel (both Offense and Defense) they choose to place on the field.
    Nov 10, 2020 at 9:53 AM
  • Jay King
    Kaepernack never had a very accurate arm. He was a poor parody of Russell Wilson, who knows how to win. Nowadays the leading quarterbacks have great arms and the ability to run for long yardage. Kaepernack was one of the first, but far from the best, with his limited skills.
    Nov 10, 2020 at 9:16 AM
  • Jpak
    Your analysis leaves out a VERY important component for any team to have success-chemistry and trust. While Kap may have the stats, that is not the only reason to keep a player on a team. In fact, in the case of the 49ers at this point in the season, that should be the least of our worries when looking for a QB to lead the team. There is no doubt Kap addressed social justice issues and that is indeed relevant and important. However, the last thing our team needs is a player that is more focused on social activism on the field than completing a pass and avoiding the sack. Lets get through the season and have faith in the team we have and look to 2021.
    Nov 10, 2020 at 7:43 AM
  • Kurtis
    Kaepernick is a sell out. He took millions from a corporate elitists company that has done very little for the minority community. When was the last time you saw a Nike factory in the hood employing thousands of minority workers? You haven't and you won't, because Nike can get away with paying 96 cents a day across the globe to make it's $250 Lebron James shoes and the athletes they endorse like Kaepernick don't have the balls to do anything about it. They will gladly take that paycheck and keep there mouth's shut. Why are you allowed to write this nonsense and who is responsible for approving it? You offer no studies or statistical data for your systematic racism claim. There's a reason for that. The studies done on police brutality and the statistics on police shootings do not support your claims. All you can offer is anecdotal evidence of a few bad police offers making very poor decisions, disregarding the hundreds of thousands who protect those same people.
    Nov 10, 2020 at 6:20 AM
  • Lloyd Colburn
    Kap, can't read a defense if his first option isnt their hes fucked. As bad as our offensive line is we don't need more turnovers. OMG I wish him nothing but the best, but he's not the answer.
    Nov 10, 2020 at 5:55 AM
  • Voice of reason
    Judging by the reaction below, signing Kaepernick would be welcomed by 50% of the fanbase and rejected by 50% of the fan base, and that's in San Francisco. I see why many other teams haven't looked to sign him. Putting aside all of the baggage that comes with signing Kaepernick, then we have the following problems: 1. He hasn't played in the league in 4 years 2. He's a run first QB (always has been). Shanahan hates players like that. 3. Lat time I looked, he still can't read a defence, still ignores uncovered WRs that aren't his first read. 4. Long throwing motion. Have you looked at our pass protection? 5. The final and most important reason that we will not sign (and to do so would be nothing but folly) Colin Kaepernick is that the offensive system run by Kyle Shanahan is complex and requires a great deal of study to be effective in it. During the 2017 season it was dumbed down as everyone found their feet, but we have players who have been in this system for years now, so bringing in a new QB with no experience of the system is not a gamble, it is downright stupid. Final point, I hate it when people misuse myriad in a sentence. There are myriad ways it annoys me.
    Nov 10, 2020 at 5:14 AM
  • Nolan
    The guy believes 100% in abolishing police. Look it up dude. No thanks
    Nov 10, 2020 at 12:49 AM
  • Evander
    Colon Kraeperdick is trash...just like you're Editorial and knowledge of football.
    Nov 9, 2020 at 11:51 PM
  • Cap Boso
    Enough with this race-baiter, American hating, kneeling hypocrite. Sports ratings are in the tank and the country is done with extremists from the Far Left and Far Right.
    Nov 9, 2020 at 11:48 PM
    Nov 9, 2020 at 10:49 PM
  • Ben
    No thank you. I have no problem with his protest and support his right to do so, but I don't think you are remembering how well he was playing when we let him go. He was benched in favor of Blaine Gabbert. Even at his best he couldn't read a defense or efficiently work through his progressions. The ability to throw far and run fast isn't enough and the NFL had figured him out. When people talk about the success that he had, they always seem to forget that the heart and soul of that team was one of the best defences in years.
    Nov 9, 2020 at 9:56 PM
  • murphdog
    Please stop with the Kap garbage. Whether u like or don’t like Shanahan it is clear to anyone with an ounce of football knowledge that the guy is an offensive genius. If Kap would help Shanahan would b 100% onboard. Kap blows. Harbaugh did a great job with him. Please stop with all the political garbage. It is getting tiring. Sports is for relief from everyday life. It is not about racial equality. If it were there would be a hell of a lot more white & Asian guys in the NBA & NFL.
    Nov 9, 2020 at 7:37 PM
  • C20
    Fully supported Kaep's right to kneel and have his voice heard but the dude's a moron and a bad QB. Don't sit here and preach to everyone else about oppression when you're taking millions from a company who profits off of sweat shop slave labor in China.
    Nov 9, 2020 at 6:57 PM
  • BW
    Put down the crack pipe!!! Did you look at his stats his last season in the NFL??? This pathetic BLM/kneeler should be banned for life!
    Nov 9, 2020 at 6:43 PM
  • Kamalatoes
    Kap was not wronged but the 49ers...he opted put of his contract. He will never play in the NFL again, as he is a cancer in the locker room, as well as to the public.
    Nov 9, 2020 at 6:34 PM
  • Bomp
    Nope he turned down I believe $9 million a year before he left. He didn’t start his protest till he found out he was going to third string or be cut, then and only then he started taking a knee BS knee. He can now watch football.
    Nov 9, 2020 at 5:41 PM
  • Bergery2k
    Does this name have to come up every single time???
    Nov 9, 2020 at 3:50 PM
  • Mike
    Thanks, but no thanks. I'd rather see this team tank than sign that idiot.
    Nov 9, 2020 at 2:50 PM
  • Carlos A
    No thank you!! please stop politicizing the niners. Kaep sold out when he settled out of court instead of exposing the NFL for what they are...
    Nov 9, 2020 at 2:33 PM
  • Eric
    Let's say we sign him and he sucks, what then?
    Nov 9, 2020 at 2:32 PM
  • Imtiaz Taj
    I have been a 49ers fan since 1985 and one of the proudest moments for me was when Kep Started to Kneel. Ignorant people still believe that it was somehow disrespectful to the anthem or police which is far from the truth, it was about social injustice and it still is. Should the Niners sign him, Yes they absouloutely should. IThe question is would Kep want to camein Knowing he will be the third stringer and most probabaly get veneran minimum? Will he want to sign? I highly doubt it. Niners are in Cap crunch situation and this is not a good year because we have a lot of contracts coming due next year.
    Nov 9, 2020 at 2:01 PM
  • Derek
    Nope, no need for that. Bad idea.
    Nov 9, 2020 at 12:50 PM
  • Joel
    Nope! I'm a 45 year fan of the 49ers and I'll never forgive them if they sign that police hating wasted of a roster spot loser. I'm still embarrassed he was ever a 49er. Terrible idea.
    Nov 9, 2020 at 11:55 AM
  • ivan
    I am also a 49ers fan and i think that is a great idea he is a fast and good quarterback and just because kneeled doesnt mean people should judge him so i third this proposal
    Nov 9, 2020 at 11:12 AM
  • 4949
    No thanks. Politicians want to be the dominant thought in your life. Separation of Sports and Politics. No thanks to politics in my sports, no thanks to sports writers who want to inject politics into their articles, and no thanks to QBs that are more known for protesting than performance on the field.
    Nov 9, 2020 at 11:04 AM
  • Dan
    Leave Kaepernick in the past. Besides, he does not want to play football anymore. He had an opportunity earlier this year to try out for several teams who were interested, but he changed the venue at the last minute for a publicity stunt. If his heart was really still in the game, he wouldn't have done that. Additionally, Kaepernick is not that good anymore; and if he was, teams would be clamoring for his services. Just let it be.
    Nov 9, 2020 at 9:28 AM
  • Nothanks
    "The argument to add Colin Kaepernick has very little do with performance. "
    Nov 9, 2020 at 8:54 AM
  • Shlomo Shekelberg
    Cool so we can convert even less third downs and throw even more off-target passes.
    Nov 9, 2020 at 8:33 AM
  • Mitch Lucas
    David, your site is great. Gilbert isn’t a bad writer. Buyback he obviously had a gas leak at his house, or had some sort of medicinal breakdown to write this.
    Nov 9, 2020 at 8:22 AM
  • jj37
    You saw a completely different quarterback than I saw in Colin Kaepernick. Yes he took the NFL by storm, but defenses adjusted and his weaknesses were exposed: Kaepernick was fast, but not quick, had a cannon arm, but needed a long wind-up to throw, and though Garrapolo has trouble making the right reads, he at least makes them quickly, which Kaepernick was never able to do. There was a reason their record got worse as his stats got better. As to the socio-political angle, the Niners don't owe Kaepernick because other teams won't hire him. I don't have any problem with athletes using the platform they have to make a stand for social justice, because once they're out of the game that chance to make a difference will disappear. In fact, I felt bad for Reid who was also black-balled. I'd care more about Kaepernick's plight if he'd ever bothered to register to vote!
    Nov 9, 2020 at 8:10 AM
  • Paul
    Kaepernick being wronged is debatable, but what's not debatable is the 49ers didn't wrong him. He opted out of his 49er contract. If he protested when he was playing well he would have been ok, but he had horrible timing. Injuries, league figured him out, 49ers fell apart didn't bode well career wise for him. He had the physical tools to be a legend he had a strong arm, great runner, and seemed to love the game. It doesn't appear he dedicated himself to the mental part of the game. He was extremely slow and processing pass defenses, and got sacked too often with that weakness. Some people think he is still the QB that was close to a Super Bowl win, and a close loss to Seattle in the NFC Championship. These joke throwing in shorts to uncovered receivers to display his skills are embarrassing, and High School QBs could make the same lob throws. One thing signing him, if he he really wants to play, would do is it may make the 49ers look good to some in the court of public opinion. I don't think he wants to comeback, because it would tarnish his martyr image if he looks bad on the field.
    Nov 9, 2020 at 8:05 AM
    Response: Yes, i never said the 49ers wrong him. If anything, they handled this situation better than any team in the league by starting him at the peak of his protest.
  • Torrence Borum
    This is a great article inspired by the football Gods and a true 49ers fan. I second this proposal.
    Nov 9, 2020 at 7:34 AM
    Response: Thanks for reading

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