Colin Kaepernick is a free agent. The particulars of why that remains the case is up for debate and the spectrum of reasons run from "He's obviously being blackballed by the league" to "He's just not very good."
On Monday, former NFL quarterback Michael Vick was the latest to make this point telling "The Herd" that Kaepernick's predicament "has nothing to do with him being blackballed. The gesture that he made last year when he took the stand to do what he did -- listen, we all appreciated it, we respected it and it was a good thing. I really think the stand that he took has nothing to do with him not having a job of playing in the National Football League right now."
Then, in an interview with "Speak For Yourself," Vick explained that Kaepernick's poor play had more to do with his fate and added: "First thing we've got to get Colin to do is cut his hair."
Those 13 words created a firestorm, beginning with Kaepernick tweeting Tuesday that Vick was suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.
A short time later, Vick took to Twitter to make it clear that "Kaepernick's hair has nothing to do with him not being in the NFL" and that he expects the quarterback to be signed at some point during the 2017 season. Vick added, "Trust and believe what I said was not in malice."
But Vick's twitter mea culpa wasn't the end of it -- he reiterated those thoughts again during an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show.
"What I said, I should have never said," Vick said, via PFT. "I think it was taken out of context in regards to what I was trying to convey, but I only want to help Colin Kaepernick. I'm not a general manager, I'm not the guy who makes the decisions on getting him signed and I'm truly sorry for what I said. I think I should have used a better choice of words."
Vick specifically apologized for his comments about Kaepernick's hair.
"His afro has nothing to do with him being signed and I wasn't trying to relay that message. It was more about helping him at the end of the day," he said.
Vick's right -- Kaepernick isn't out of work because of his hair. And we also agree with Vick that Kaepernick's situation is about how his play declined since Jim Harbaugh departed the 49ers for the University of Michigan. That doesn't mean Kaepernick's not as good as some current NFL backups, but it's hard to argue that he's clearly better than many of those backups too. As new 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan pointed out this spring, accommodating Kaepernick's playing style is more than just putting him under center.
"If you bring in a quarterback who is the best when he's a dual threat and can do all those type of things, that affects an entire offense," Shanahan said back in April. "That doesn't just affect one guy. That's a huge commitment to your entire team. So, when you bring in someone like that when you're going to have to tinker the offense to fit one player, you've got to know you're tinkering with every single person on that offense, too."
Kaepernick will get another chance in the NFL, the question is when it will happen and what he's able to do with it.