One of the most important moves for the Buffalo Bills heading into the 2022 NFL season is finding a new backup for quarterback Josh Allen. While the Bills would love to keep Mitch Trubisky, he’s expected to field several offers to once again become a starter next season.
Names such as Marcus Mariota and Ryan Fitzpatrick have been linked to the Bills as possible replacements for Trubisky, but an unexpected player suddenly added himself to that list on Thursday, March 10.
In a surprise move, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick announced that he’s “still working” toward an NFL comeback.
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ESPN’s Adam Schefter retweeted the 34-year-old’s workout video and wrote, “Colin Kaepernick is still working out and is said to be, in the words of one source, ‘in the best shape of his life. He wants to play. He’s ready play. He would be a great fit for teams with QB vacancies to fill who want to win a Super Bowl.'”
While Kaepernick would love to once again be a starter, the reality is that he hasn’t played since 2016. Even in a year with a weak quarterback draft class, and numerous teams without clear starters, it’s hard to imagine any franchise taking a flyer on a guy who hasn’t stepped onto the field in six years.
If Kaepernick can’t get a starting job in 2022, his second-best option could be to follow in Trubisky’s footsteps. The former Chicago Bears starter took a pay cut to sign a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Bills last year, and despite barely playing this past season, he’s now one of the hottest names in free agency.
The opportunity to closely study Allen, who’s currently ranked as the No.3 best quarterback in the league, per NFL.com, and work with Bills’ offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, who was a huge part of developing Allen’s talent, will be an incredibly appealing opening for any quarterback hoping to one day reclaim a starting role.
Bills Co-Owner Kim Pegula Said in 2020 that She Supports Players Who Kneel
While Kaepernick was basically blacklisted from the NFL for taking a kneel during the national anthem to raise awareness against racial violence and police brutality, since 2016, particularly following the death of George Floyd, the league’s acceptance of peaceful protesting has shifted dramatically.
In June 2020, NFL owner Roger Goodell endorsed Kaepernick’s return, telling ESPN‘s Mike Greenberg, “I support a club making that decision and encourage them to do that.”
Shortly after, Bills co-owner Kim Pegula said that she supports players wanting to take a knee during the anthem.
Personally, I’m not going to kneel. But we’ve been listening. We’ve been learning to love other people and understand experiences and what they have gone through, what they’ve experienced, and what maybe the anthem or the flag means to them, it’s truly different than what I went through.
I think and I would hope that our players or anybody would understand that if I’m standing, that does not mean I am for racism. Certainly, it’s not. And the same goes for our players. If they choose to kneel, or whoever wants to protest, I don’t think it’s because they don’t love the country or they don’t respect our military or any of that.
Pegula’s statement was in stark contrast to some of the crowd’s reception of Kaepernick in Orchard Park when he last played there on October 16, 2016.
The former second-round pick from the 2011 NFL Draft recalled to The Mercury News on December 16, 2020, “Atlanta was somewhere where I had a lot of support, a lot of people saying they agree with what I’m doing, support it and are happy that I did it. And to keep going, stay strong.
“And there’s other places where the fans don’t agree as much – Buffalo, in particular, was one where that was very evident. So it shows the different cultures and different beliefs throughout this country and it also makes it very evident that there’s a difference in perspective between White America and Black America.”
Kaepernick’s Personal Stats in 2016 Don’t Paint the Whole Picture
Kaepernick’s final season with the Niners wasn’t great. His passing grade (53.8) ranked 33rd amount the league’s 40 quarterbacks who dropped back to pass at least 100 times, per PFF reporter Timo Riske, and ranked 29th while operating from a clean pocket.
However, Riske pointed out that Kaepernick “had the worst offensive supporting cast in the league.” His pass protection at the time “ranked 29th in the league, and his receiving corps might have been even worse. His No. 1 receiver — and I use this term volume-wise, not ability-wise — was Jeremy Kerley, who graded out in the 70s only once in his career. Kaepernick’s second-best option was Torrey Smith, who earned a 52.2 receiving grade in 2016.”
Through his six-year career, Kaepernick tallied 12,271 career passing yards, a 72-30 TD-to-INT ratio and a 59.8% career completion rate.