Kaeper­nick de­serves to re­ceive an NFL job

The Washington Post Sunday - - WASHINGTONPOST.COM/SPORTS - BY NEIL GREEN­BERG neil.green­berg@wash­post.com Ex­cerpted from wash­ing­ton­post.com/news/ fancy-stats

Free agent quar­ter­back Colin Kaeper­nick is still with­out a job in the NFL de­spite com­ing off a solid sea­son in which he passed for 2,241 yards and 16 touch­downs with four in­ter­cep­tions and rushed for 468 yards and two touch­downs in 12 games for the San Francisco 49ers.

His ca­reer in­ter­cep­tion rate (1.8 per­cent) is tied for sec­ond best in NFL his­tory, trail­ing only Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers (1.5 per­cent).

Yet that didn’t stop San Francisco from mov­ing on and sign­ing former Chicago Bears quar­ter­backs Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley, the lat­ter of whom threw 10 more in­ter­cep­tions in 2016 than Kaeper­nick in five fewer games.

It didn’t get Kaeper­nick, 29, the backup job in Ari­zona, ei­ther. In­stead, the Car0­d­i­nals signed Blaine Gab­bert, who was benched in fa­vor of Kaeper­nick in San Francisco last sea­son.

The Bears gave Mike Glennon — a backup with a ca­reer 59.4 per­cent com­ple­tion rate — a three­year, $45 mil­lion deal in March.

Kaeper­nick has a ca­reer ad­justed net yards per pass fig­ure of 6.1, higher than any of those play­ers. That stat gives a bonus for throw­ing TD passes while pe­nal­iz­ing a player for in­ter­cep­tions and sacks.

There has been spec­u­la­tion that Kaeper­nick — who guided the 2012 49ers to a Su­per Bowl ap­pear­ance — is be­ing black­balled by NFL teams be­cause of the po­lit­i­cal state­ment he made last year when he re­fused to stand for the na­tional an­them be­fore games in protest of the treat­ment of African Amer­i­cans in the United States.

But based on the num­bers alone, it’s clear that Kaeper­nick de­serves to be play­ing in the NFL.

If you look at Kaeper­nick’s 2016 To­tal Quar­ter­back Rat­ing (To­tal QBR), he would be an up­grade over at least half of the back­ups in the league, not in­clud­ing rook­ies.

That list in­cludes Ryan Fitz­patrick, who reached a one-year deal with Tampa Bay on Fri­day to back up Jameis Win­ston.

Kaeper­nick (55.2) ranked 23rd out of 30 qual­i­fied passers in 2016 To­tal QBR, plac­ing him ahead of starters such as Ryan Tan­nehill, Cam New­ton, Car­son Wentz, Eli Man­ning and Fitz­patrick.

No one is sug­gest­ing Kaeper­nick has to be a starter, but the num­bers clearly show he would be a smart ad­di­tion as a backup.

One team ap­pears to have some in­ter­est. Seat­tle Coach Pete Car­roll has hinted that he could be con­sid­er­ing Kaeper­nick as a backup to Rus­sell Wil­son. The Sea­hawks’ backup, Trevone Boykin, has thrown 18 passes in the NFL.

There is no rea­son Kaeper­nick shouldn’t be at least a solid backup in the NFL. And Seat­tle would make a lot of sense.

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