In professional sports, production is often measured by a player’s ability to fill up the box score. Stats can also help in the case of maligned quarterback Colin Kaepernick. As the start of the 2017 season looms, a review of quarterback statistics from 2016 reveals an interesting story.

Kaepernick and his current situation do not need an introduction. While most believe his acts of protest have forced him to the sideline, there’s still a contingent that attempts to use his performance on the field as ammunition. His 2016 numbers not only refute that stance, but are better than many of the starters and backups suiting up throughout the National Football League.

Kaepernick’s stat line from 2016 may not leap off of the page, but it’s far from a poor productive year. He appeared in 12 games, starting in 11. In that group he completed 196 of 331 passes for 2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions. Kaepernick is known for his ability to run the ball, and 2016 was no different as he earned 468 yards on the ground for 2 additional touchdowns. These are strong numbers and some will wonder what he would have been able to do if he played all 16 regular season games.

Regardless of his stat line, the 2016 Niners struggled; the team finished the year with a 2-14 record. Kaepernick’s protest only fed the flames of blame—some labeled him a distraction or worse. On March 3, 2017, Kaepernick opted-out of his contract, which led to his becoming an unrestricted free agent. That was five months ago, and the Milwaukee native has yet to be signed to another team.

But what do the numbers tell us? In those 12 appearances how did Kaepernick’s stats compare to those of his peers? In many ways they hold up and show that he’s a player who can still compete in this league. 

Kaepernick by the numbers
Image via Sho Hanafusa