Colin Kaepernick reportedly wants $9M to $10M per year and a chance to start

The vitriol surrounding the Colin Kaepernick employment discussion is heated, with pro-Kaepernick people screaming about him being blackballed by the NFL and anti-Kaepernick people questioning his football ability.

There are some people with moderate takes being shouted down by all the noise on the lunatic fringe -- and one of the better moderate takes we’ve seen so far comes from Dan Graziano of ESPN, who points out there might simply be a confluence of events causing Kaepernick not to get a job.

Kaepernick remains a question mark when it comes to his on-field skill set. He can do a lot of things well, but there’s no guarantee he can work well with every team. 

There are also a lot of teams that simply do not need a starting or backup quarterback. Especially one who has pretty high salary demands. According to Graziano, Kaepernick wants to earn between $9 million and $10 million this season, with an opportunity to start.

Further, we know from multiple sources that Kaepernick isn’t just looking for any job. Two people to whom I spoke last week say he’s looking for a place that offers him a chance to compete for a starting job and a salary befitting a high-end backup quarterback or a low-end starter. Think something like $9 million to $10 million.

If you are a major supporter of Kaepernick getting a job, you probably need to look at those demands and realize how difficult it is for him to get what he wants. 

Everyone freaked out when the Raiders signed EJ Manuel as a backup (Kaepernick would have made a lot of sense with Oakland), but he took a one-year deal worth $800,000 with zero guaranteed money. That’s a long way from what Kaepernick reportedly wants.

If Kaepernick is set on finding a starting job, he is going to be out of luck. The Texans, Jets, Browns and 49ers are teams that need starting quarterbacks. You can force the Broncos in there, but they have Paxton Lynch, who they drafted in the first round last year. We can probably rule out the 49ers. 

We can also rule out the Jets. As we’ve been pointing out for a while now, Jets owner Woody Johnson is a big-time conservative who is friendly with the country’s current administration, led by a president who publicly denounced Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem as recently as last week.

The Texans and Broncos are revving up for the Tony Romo sweepstakes; if Denver misses out, Lynch or Trevor Siemian will be the guy. Houston could be a landing spot, but Kaepernick’s fit in Bill O’Brien’s system is questionable at best. 

So there’s Cleveland. The Browns are not morally obligated to take a shot on Kaepernick as their starting quarterback, especially a year after testing out the Robert Griffin III experiment. Cleveland has two first-round picks and is still apparently interested in chasing after Jimmy Garoppolo in a deal with the Patriots. The Browns can afford to be patient if they have interest in Kaepernick. 

Kaepernick is doing some really positive things off the field. He’s not being blackballed by the NFL, but his actions as a social activist might ultimately limit his ability to find employment. That doesn’t make him any different from any other person in any other field of employment. 

There just isn’t some broad answer for why Kaepernick doesn’t have a job right now. It’s a nuanced, difficult issue with a bunch of layers and a lack of a blanket solution. When people on the fringe start screaming about it, things only become more complex.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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