The Colin Kaepernick Line May Have Found Its Settling Point

The Colin Kaepernick Line May Have Found Its Settling Point


The Colin Kaepernick Line May Have Found Its Settling Point

Colin Kaepernick has started 58 games in his six-year career. It’s quite possible he’ll never add to this figure. Much ink has been spilled and blood vessels popped arguing over the root cause and its fairness. We are no closer to a consensus now than when we started.

But whatever you think of Kaepernick’s activism, his on-field ability is an important metric to be weighed. The NFL is chock-full of teams in desperate need of a competent quarterback. In 2016, Kaepernick fit this description yet still failed to win football games.
Assessing how similar production would look like from 30,000 feet this year is a worthwhile endeavor. Establishing The Kaepernick Line helps contextualize his value against those peers currently in possession of starting jobs.

The Kaepernick Line, though not scientific, yields a marker in the sand for merit-based arguments. His numbers from last year in five key categories are compared against the field of 2017 starting quarterbacks. His hypothetical rank is then averaged across the line. For instance, if Kaepernick’s replicated production put him 30th in three categories, 20th in one and 15th in another, the line would be 25 (30+30+30+20+15= 125, divided by 5 = 25).

Here is that production:


Rating: 90.7

QBR: 49.5

Adjusted Net Yards/Attempt: 5.92

Team Points/Game in Starts: 18.66

Points Added: -0.7

Before going any further, it seems prudent to point out these areas were not selected with an intention of delivering any data, good or bad. These are simply the five instructive areas to look at when assessing a quarterback. The only goal is to stack Kaepernick up against the rest of the league.

Through four games this year, here’s where he would rank in each:

Colin Kaepernick’s Rank in 2017

Rating: 15th

QBR: 18th

Adjusted Net Yards/Attempt: 19th

Team Points/Game in Start: 24th

Points Added: 21th

This week’s Kaepernick Line checks in at 19.4, slightly down from 19.2.

This is the third straight week the number has been in the 19-20 range, suggesting this could be its final resting place. Hugging the cusp between a lower mid-tier and higher end low-tier quarterback seems fair for Kaepernick in the abstract — and that’s what the data is bearing thus far.

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