Each year, we like to run a series of posts called "90-in-90." The idea is that we'll take a look at every player on the roster, from the very bottom to the top and break them down a few ways. This roster will certainly change, and some days we'll have more than one so it's not exactly 90 players in 90 days. At this point, it's a name we're keeping around for street cred.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, is one of the most controversial and polarizing players in the NFL. Whether loved or despised by fans across the league, it seems just about everyone has an opinion on the tattooed wonder from Turlock. He came on the scene after Alex Smith suffered a concussion against the St. Louis Rams, has started every game for the 49ers since, and has been a lightning rod for controversy from day one.
Many people thought Smith shouldn’t have lost his job due to injury; others thought it was time to go in a new direction. Regardless of anyone else’s feelings on the subject, the 49ers are satisfied with what Kaepernick has done in his season and a half as their starting quarterback. This is evidenced by the six-year, $126 million contract extension they handed him yesterday.
Kaepernick has a lot to prove being that the 49ers have been to three consecutive NFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl since Jim Harbaugh took over. The 49ers organization has gone 19 years without adding another glittering Lombardi Trophy to is collection, and there is no reason to think Kaepernick isn't the right person to lead this team to the promised land. The front office has added another wide receiver in Stevie Johnson and should have Michael Crabtree ready for the season opener as opposed to last year when Crabtree didn’t make his debut until December.
Why he might improve:
A wide receiving corps including Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree, and Stevie Johnson is definitely not something to sneeze at. Those receivers coupled with playmakers like Vernon Davis, Frank Gore, and one of the best offensive lines in the NFL and you have the potential breeding ground for one of the more balanced and potent offenses the 49ers have fielded since the days of Jerry Rice, Terrell Owens, and Co. It’s also widely reported that Kaepernick is one of the hardest working players on the team, so given his realistic point of view on his talent level and the things he needs to improve on, it’s fair to suggest he could come into the season looking much more polished than he did last year.
Why he might regress:
If Kaepernick chooses to be fat and happy with his new contract and not put in the time, he may not make the strides he is capable of making. It will be difficult to make excuses or to come up with reasons for why Kaepernick is lacking effectiveness with the added wide receiver depth and with Mike Iupati in a contract year, so Kaepernick needs to come out and show the progress he made in the offseason. If he didn’t spend time working on playing from a dirty pocket, reading defenses, and going through progressions, this may be a year that resembles 2013 as opposed to the break out year Jim Harbaugh is predicting for Kaepernick.
Odds of making the roster:
Being that Blaine Gabbert is his backup and the 49ers just gave him a truckload of money, it’s safe to assume that Kaepernick isn’t going anywhere. That being said, if you live in an area where sports betting is legal and a book is willing to give you a line on him not making the roster…do yourself a favor and make some money.