Everyone from Donald Trump to Jim Harbaugh has weighed in on free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s job prospects, and that has boiled down to a debate over politics vs. performance.
NFL Network analysts Deion Sanders and Heath Evans on Wednesday joined the chorus in addressing the question of why Kaepernick hasn’t yet found a suitor.
Evans – who played from 2001-10 as a fullback with Seattle, New England, Miami and New Orleans – said Kaepernick’s performance has been on a “steady decline” since he helped lead the 49ers to a Super Bowl against the Baltimore Ravens in the 2012 season. Kaepernick went 12-4 as a starter the following season that ended in a conference championship loss to Seattle, completing 58.4 percent of his passes for 3,197 yards and 21 touchdowns with eight interceptions. Since then, he’s 11-24.
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“Productivity, performance, whatever P word you want to strap to it, I think that’s what it is,” Evans says. “I’ll go out there and say it’s 5 percent politics and 95 percent performance.”
Evans attributes Kaepernick’s early success to the 49ers’ strong supporting cast that featured running back Frank Gore and a stout defense.
Sanders, an eight-time Pro Bowl and six-time first-team All-Pro cornerback from 1989-2005, came to Kaepernick’s defense, somewhat. He agreed that Kaepernick’s political activism that centers around racial injustice could be a factor weighed by teams, but said the league has a need for quarterbacks, with only 10 performing on a top-tier level.