The Inept, Old, Half-Interested Quarterbacks Who Got Deals Instead of Colin Kaepernick This Year

Colin Kaepernick smiles while in the stands at a tennis match.
Colin Kaepernick watches Naomi Osaka play at the U.S. Open on Aug. 29. Kena Betancur/Getty Images

It has been two years, nine months, and 10 days since Colin Kaepernick played a professional football game. In that time, the quarterback filed and settled a grievance against the NFL arguing the league blackballed him for kneeling during the national anthem and starting a protest movement against police brutality. While the league and its teams have denied colluding to keep Kaepernick off the field, the facts of his case make it difficult to reach any other conclusion.

On Thursday, Kaepernick’s representatives offered a helpful reminder of the quarterback’s plight in the form of a punchy explainer.


The letter succinctly reiterates what Kaepernick and his representatives have been saying for nearly three years:


• “Not a single team has brought Colin in for a workout.”

• Kaepernick’s agent has reached out to all 32 teams, but there has been “little to no response.”

• He still wants to play and “has been working out 5 days a week.”

While there has been a rash of quarterback injuries in 2019, Kaepernick appears no closer to getting an NFL job. The “football” argument against signing him is that it has now been too long since he played in the league. (Blackballing will do that to you.) That’s hard to reconcile with Washington’s decision last year to bring in Josh Johnson, who hadn’t thrown a pass in an NFL game since 2011. Johnson didn’t exactly set the league alight during his brief return, but at the very least he demonstrated that he remembered how to play football.


Kaepernick’s credentials, it’s fair to say, have been analyzed more thoroughly than those of any other out-of-work quarterback in league history, with his defenders and detractors both pointing to his stats to help bolster their arguments. (The detractors have the weaker case, it must be said.) There are about 80 quarterbacks on NFL rosters right now. What would it look like if some of these players were subjected to the same level of scrutiny? Let’s find out.

Josh McCown, Philadelphia Eagles

Does Josh McCown still want to play football?


Kind of? He retired at the end of the 2018 season but agreed to join the Eagles after backups Nate Sudfeld and Cody Kessler got hurt. While focusing on his duties as an NFL quarterback, Josh is still committed to his other job as a high school football coach.


Wait, what?

Josh agreed to coach at Myers Park High School in Charlotte, North Carolina, after he retired from the NFL in June. According to, “McCown would be allowed to fly to Charlotte [from Philadelphia] on Friday afternoon after practice, time permitting, and make it back in time to continue contributing as a coach for Myers Park on Friday nights.”

How did Josh do last year for the Jets?

He threw one touchdown and four interceptions in four games. The Myers Park Mustangs, meanwhile, are currently 6–0, so he’s got that going for him.

Brian Hoyer, Indianapolis Colts

What are Brian’s qualifications as a quarterback?

Brian served as Tom Brady’s backup in New England last year, so you know he’s good.


He’s still a backup though, right?

Yes. He is behind Jacoby Brissett, who was behind Andrew Luck, who is retired.

When was the last time he started a game?


That would be in 2017, when he began the season as the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers.

That’s interesting, because Colin Kaepernick was the team’s previous starter. He threw for 16 touchdowns and four interceptions in 11 starts for the 49ers. How did Brian do?

Brian had a low interception rate. Like Colin, he threw only four picks.

How many touchdown passes did he throw?

He threw four touchdowns, but it’s hard to get a full picture of his abilities because he started only six games.


Why did he start only six games?

San Francisco lost all of them.

Matt Schaub, Atlanta Falcons

Whoa, I remember Matt Schaub. He used to be pretty good, right?

Indeed. Matt is a two-time Pro Bowler.

Wasn’t that a long time ago?

Only if you consider 2012 a “long time ago.” A child born in 2012 can’t even buy cigarettes yet.


What happened in 2013?

Matt set an NFL record.

What record was that?

He threw a pick 6 in four consecutive games.

What’s he done since then?

You ask too many questions.

Nathan Peterman, Oakland Raiders

Nathan Peterman, hmm, why does that sound familiar?


No reason. It’s a very common name.

Seriously, it rings a bell.


He’s a promising young quarterback with playoff experience. That’s all you need to know.

Oh, wait! Nathan Peterman! From the Bills? The guy who threw five interceptions in one half?

Not all of them were his fault.

He’s thrown three touchdown passes and 12 interceptions in his career. Everyone was saying he’s the worst quarterback in history.

Stats aren’t everything. He also has a clothing line.

How much for a T-shirt?

A high-quality, slim-fit crewneck costs $24.99. There are also baby onesies available for $19.99.

Couldn’t this side business be considered a “distraction” for the Raiders?

Probably not. I mean, it’s Nathan Peterman.

DeShone Kizer, Oakland Raiders

Isn’t Nathan Peterman the Raiders’ backup quarterback?

No, Nathan is on injured reserve. The backup job belongs to Mike Glennon. DeShone backs up Mike.

Oakland has four quarterbacks?


And they are all better than Colin Kaepernick?

Who knows? I’m just here to advertise Nathan Peterman’s clothing line.