Lowell Cohn: 49er Colin Kaepernick’s value sinks after flop in snowy Chicago

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Various picturesque, off-color phrases describe what Colin Kaepernick did on Sunday in Chicago. I’m not allowed to write any of those phrases in a family newspaper. Pause a moment and insert your picturesque, off-color phrase right here.

OK, we all got that off our chests.

The lead-up to the game was fascinating. Kaepernick had just put his San Jose house on the market for about $3 million. Turns out he bought a condo in New York last July for about $3 million. He apparently was thinking of moving, although he double-talked the issue when anyone asked about it.

Why would such a great quarterback want to move?

He has one year remaining on his new, improved, restructured 49ers deal. And he’s in the driver’s seat. Whether to be a Niner or not to be a Niner is his option. Not the team’s. You with me?

He recently had played a few good games. No. No. I take that back. I lost my mind when I wrote that. He had played a few games that were not horrible. That did not give coaches, players and fans death-defying nausea. In the few not-so-horrible games he didn’t win. Didn’t win a single one of them. He doesn’t win very much, and people like that usually get called loser. But he looked good — in his own mind.

And — this is my interpretation — he thought he could opt out of his Niners contract and get big bucks elsewhere because, after all, he is Colin Kaepernick whom Jim Harbaugh once anointed. Harbaugh made Kaepernick the prince of the kingdom. Before the kingdom got overrun by barbarians, some from within.

There were reports from the usual sources that Kaepernick had decided to opt out. These reports came out just before the Chicago debacle, Kaepernick waltzing into that game on top of the world. You want to die laughing.

He was following the Brock Osweiller model. Osweiller being the definition of a mediocre quarterback. Osweiller played a few OK games for Denver last season and parlayed them into a contract with Houston worth $72 million if all goes well for him.

Kaepernick must have looked at Osweiller’s deal and thought he could do better. He was no mere Osweiller. He was Kap. Word got around he was opting out. Would become a free agent, quarterback being invaluable in a quarterback-poor league.

He probably would go to the Jets. That’s where the New York condo comes in. The Jets need a quarterback, and Kaepernick would be a hero, would ride down 5th Avenue on a gallant steed while the populace threw roses at his feet. Everyone finally would pay homage to his undisputed greatness.

And then Sunday happened. He completed one pass. In five attempts. For an average passing gain of, get this, .8 yards. That’s 4/5 of a yard if you’re converting to fractions. I’m not making this stuff up.

You can’t blame his crummy play on the snow. Chicago’s Matt Barkley played in the same snow and had a passer rating of 97.5. What was Kaepernick’s rating? A gag-worthy 39.6. I’m amazed it was even that high. Barkley is the Bears’ No. 4 quarterback. And that means Kaepernick got outplayed by a fourth banana. How’s that Big Apple condo looking now, Colin?

Kaepernick’s world came crashing down on his head in Chicago. Not the first time. He’s crashed and burned more than most quarterbacks, has had more chances than he deserved.

On one pass he hit a Bears linebacker in the back of the helmet. This was a beauty of the silly-pass genre. His running back Shaun Draughn, a pretty good receiver, was running downfield. The linebacker ran after Draughn. The linebacker was not looking at the ball. Draughn was open. Clunk. Ball to the helmet. What a surprise.

On another throw, tight end Vance McDonald was open deep. Kaepernick overthrew him by about a mile. No touch on long passes.

And then Chip Kelly benched Kaepernick. Benched him for that other guy, poor Blaine Gabbert. At which point, Kaepernick’s stock went into the dumper. His value disintegrated.

Which means the 49ers may have a quarterback controversy on their hands. Cue the laugh track here. No controversy exists when neither quarterback should be a starter. It’s questionable either should play in the league.

In case you are a Kaepernick supporter — one of the few remaining — he has the worst completion percentage among qualifying quarterbacks. Ranks 32nd. Lives in the basement of the house where he wants the condo, sleeps next to the coal furnace and the old discarded mattresses.

Some will say I write this stuff about Kaepernick because I am a hater. “Hater” is a frequently-used internet word. I hope I’m not a hater. But I sure am a sports writer, one who has covered the 49ers for 37 years. And I know the genuine article and I know a fraud — I’m strictly talking about athletics, not personalities. And I know Kaepernick is not the real thing. I expect the 49ers to cut him before next season and eat his $14.5 million salary.

And then Kaepernick can hook on with some desperate team if he’s lucky, maybe as the backup to the backup quarterback. If he washes out of the league — entirely possible — he can enjoy New York as a civilian. Colin, the pizza is great, and you’ve never tasted hot dogs like those, believe me. And riding the subways is a blast.

Have a good life, Colin.

For more on the world of sports in general and the Bay Area in particular, go to the Cohn Zohn at You can reach Staff Columnist Lowell Cohn at

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