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Is Colin Kaepernick being blackballed by NFL teams? Prove he's not

Sporting News logo Sporting News 3/18/2017 David Steele

Colin Kaepernick © (Getty Images) Colin Kaepernick It seemed a little early to condemn NFL teams for freezing out Colin Kaepernick. Barely a week had gone by in free agency. With one exception — albeit a grotesque, borderline-obscene one — not many quarterbacks had been coming off of the market. Bleacher Report’s Friday story on how front-office types still want nothing to do with him for his protests during the national anthem shined another light on it.

Still, it’s a long offseason. It only takes one team rowing against the tide. And, again, even the Jay Cutlers were still looking for work, never mind a part-time starter fighting against a scarlet letter.

MORE: NFL free agency tracker

Then, this week, Nick Foles signed with the Eagles.

EJ Manuel signed with the Raiders.

Geno Smith signed with the Giants, soon after Josh Johnson, last year's backup, re-signed.

Josh McCown set up a visit with the Jets.

And, of course, this all was after Mike Glennon signed with the Bears for $18.5 million guaranteed.

Come on. Stop it. Do not ever say Colin Kaepernick can't get a job because he's not good enough.

Think of a better excuse. Think of a better lie. Hey, even try telling the truth — this time, on the record.

But don’t feed everybody the "It’s because Kaepernick is a trash quarterback" line. Everybody’s full, thank you.

Now, the Bleacher Report explanation is much more plausible — and NFL executives no longer deserve the benefit of the doubt that their decisions are football-related.

They might be able to get away with them being money-related, except that there is nothing definitive about what Kaepernick wants to get paid. Then again … $18.5 million for Mike Glennon. To be a starter.

It's not worth the electricity needed to type it, or to trot out the stats that say Kaepernick was not terrible in his 11 games last season. It’s not worth repeating that he had not played in a year because of multiple surgeries and is healthier now than he has been in two seasons. Not worth the reminder that the 49ers’ new management is rebuilding the entire roster from scratch, which tells you Kaepernick wasn’t exactly working with the same weapons Matt Ryan was.

Of course this isn't about football. It’s about maintaining the status quo, or what NFL teams believe that to be. It's about not ruffling feathers, or at least the feathers NFL teams care about ruffling.

It's about at least one team in the market for a quarterback, the Giants, with a coach who's on the record as being "disappointed" in Kaepernick’s protest (at the same time he eagerly defended a kicker who abused his wife). The two signings they made essentially scream, "Anybody But Kaepernick."

And it’s about one nameless AFC general manager who took this to its furthest extreme and told Bleacher Report that he’s afraid "Trump will tweet about the team," and that some teams want no part of that kind of attention.

Imagine that. Kaepernick was the one labeled a coward in so many places for so many reasons last season — including, implausibly, for making it known that he would no longer do the same protest at games next season.

That marked Kaepernick a coward, yet teams are scared of a hot take from the president, and let that guide their football decisions.

MORE: Scheme fit an issue for Kap?

Meanwhile, those who said the rich, entitled jock really wasn’t sacrificing anything with his kneeling must be aware by now exactly what he sacrificed.

Until someone proves it wrong, he has sacrificed his NFL career. Teams find Manuel, Foles and Smith to be more reasonable options at what they’ve made clear is the most important position in their sport.

NFL teams are free to prove that wrong. So far, early in free agency, they haven’t.

PHOTOS: THINGS WE'VE LEARNED IN FREE AGENCY

Free agency is a time for significant money to fly around as teams sign players to contracts, often ones for more money than said players are worth. It’s a telling time for the state of many franchises and points to which direction each one is headed. With the first wave of free agency in the books, and hundreds of millions of dollars doled out, let’s take a look back at what we’ve learned so far. The Patriots, Browns and 49ers have all been at the forefront, while other teams have stayed on the outskirts, waiting for bargains with the next tier of free agents. Here are 11 lessons we’ve learned up to this point. 11 things we've learned since the start of NFL free agency
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