Colin Kaepernick is still a free agent. Some believe it's due to his talent level, even though he has a higher career passer rating than current starters like Joe Flacco, Blake Bortles, Brian Hoyer, Josh McCown, and Ryan Tannehill. Some believe that it's due to his lack of commitment to football, even though there's zero proof to back that up. Many believe it's due to his protest against racial injustice last season, when he kneeled during the national anthem.
You can place Malcolm Jenkins into that final group. On Thursday, the Eagles defensive back called NFL teams "cowards" for refusing to sign Kaepernick.
"This is just some other teams being, quite honestly, cowards, to say that they're afraid of backlash to sign someone to make their team better when fans' input has never been in the equation when it comes to signing people in the past," Jenkins told delawareonline.com. "It's certain owners' way of making an example out of [Kaepernick] to discourage anybody else from doing what he did."
It's not surprising the Jenkins feels this way. After all, he joined Kaepernick in his protest last year by raising his fist during the national anthem.
"Four months ago, there was a debate as to whether [Kaepernick] is talented enough or whatever," Jenkins said. "I think at this point in time when you look at the quarterbacks who have jobs around the league, and the amount of owners and GMs who have only spoken of what fans would think about his stance. I think it's safe to throw out that talent argument, and basically focus on the fact that he doesn't have a job solely because he didn't stand for the anthem last year, even though he already expressed that he planned on standing this year.
"That message, to me, is loud and clear from owners as to where their priorities stand and how they go about picking and choosing who they want on their teams. It's definitely unfortunate, but it's shining a light on just how the NFL operates and what we deem as acceptable. It really has nothing to do with what's right or wrong, but what affects dollars. That's business as usual, but I think it's an unfortunate precedent to set."
So far, Kaepernick has been connected to teams like the Seahawks (he'd be Russell Wilson's backup), Ravens (Flacco is dealing with a back injury), and the Dolphins (Tannehill hurt his knee on Thursday, though he avoided ligament damage). But no one has signed him.
NFL Network's Mike Silver previously reported that the Ravens have heard from their fans about their interest in Kaepernick and the reaction was not positive. And Giants owner John Mara said something similar about fan backlash, which fits what Jenkins said below.
"It's one of those things where the public declarations by some of these owners to basically feel good about the fact that they're weighing their options is completely ludicrous," Jenkins said. "I think it's unfortunate that there's an environment where that is acceptable."
It's worth noting that Kaepernick reportedly won't continue to kneel for the national anthem next season. It's also worth noting that he's repeatedly backed up his protest by donating to multiple charities. He pledged to donate a total of $1 million to charity.