Colin Kaepernick has not played an NFL snap in three seasons as his time could possibly be running out for a NFL return (Kaepernick is turning 33 in November). While the job opportunities still elude Kaepernick, his former teammate in the San Francisco 49ers quarterback room is still surprised there are no quarterback jobs open for him.
Alex Smith, who Kaepernick famously replaced in the middle of the 2012 season, was honest about Kaepernick's job prospects -- especially how Kaepernick played during his time in San Francisco.
"It was hard to kind of see that trajectory because he was playing so good, and doing things nobody had done," Smith said on ESPN Radio last week, via USA Today. "I think he still holds the single-game rushing record for a quarterback. It was crazy.
"So with that said, it was so absurd -- I think equally-- that it was only a few years later when you're like, 'This guy doesn't have a job.' That was hard to imagine. It still is, a guy with his ability and his trajectory that all of a sudden wasn't playing."
Kaepernick hasn't played in the NFL since he opted out of his contract in 2016, a year which he completed 59.2% of his passes and threw for 2,241 yards with 16 touchdowns to just four interceptions (90.7 rating) in 12 games. He also rushed for 468 yards and two touchdowns, averaging a career-high 6.8 yards per carry.
Smith was the starting quarterback for the 49ers in the 2011 season, leading the team to the NFC Championship game. The 49ers were 6-2 when Smith was removed from a Week 10 game against the St. Louis Rams with a concussion and Kaepernick entered the contest. Kaepernick never relinquished the job and took the 49ers to the Super Bowl after throwing for 1,814 yards, 10 touchdowns and three interceptions (career-high 98.3 rating) while rushing for 415 yards and five touchdowns.
In the postseason that year, Kaepernick set an NFL single-game record for most rushing yards by a quarterback with 181 in an NFC divisional playoff win over the Green Bay Packers. He completed 16 of 28 passes for 302 yards for a touchdown and an interception in a Super Bowl XLVII loss to the Baltimore Ravens, while rushing for 62 yards and a score.
Kaepernick's career didn't showcase the same success as that 2012 season. Over the next four years, Kaepernick completed just 59.3% of his passes and threw for 10,422 yards with 62 touchdowns and 27 interceptions (87.9 rating). Thumb, knee and shoulder injuries didn't help matters for Kaepernick in the latter years of his career.
in an attempt to get back in the NFL, but was not signed by a team. Based on how Kaepernick played in his six seasons, it's still surprising to Smith he doesn't have a job.