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The Curious Case Of Colin Kaepernick

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NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Chicago Bears Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

The 3-8 New York Jets head to the 1-11 San Francisco 49'ers this week for what promised to be a game filled with quality and intrigue.

OK, so maybe it'll be very low on quality and the only intrigue attached to this game revolves around the performance of Bryce Petty and which team will hurt its draft day potential by actually winning.

Despite getting benched in snowy Chicago last weekend after throwing for 4 yards (total), Chip Kelly announced that Colin Kaepernick will start for the 49'ers when they face the Jets. Kaepernick is likely to opt out of his contract at the end of the year to test the free agency waters, and guess which team will likely be shopping for a veteran QB? Yep, our very own New York Jets.

Let me start by stating that I have very little interest in seeing Kaepernick in a Jets uniform, despite him leading his 49'ers team to the Super Bowl in 2013. At one point he looked as though he was going to become one of the best QB's in the league, an extremely dangerous multi-threat weapon that defenses would be trying to solve for years to come.

Unfortunately it didn't quite work out like that for Kaepernick, and I wanted an insider opinion on why he's struggled so much recently. I reached out to David Fucillo of Niners Nation to ask him about Colin and this is what he had to say:

The debate over Colin Kaepernick could probably fill up a book. He struggled last year in part because of injuries that resulted in three different procedures on his shoulder, thumb, and knee. However, there are also issues of staring down receivers, and accuracy problems. Both have been regular problems for him, but they really showed up in a big way in 2015.

Last season was by far his worst year as a pro, and resulted in him getting benched for Blaine Gabbert. He has returned to the starting lineup this year after five Gabbert starts. In his time back, we've seen a little bit of everything. We saw the big throws and the scrambling. We saw the inaccuracy and the ugly throws that defenders could read from jump. In his first few starts, he seemed to pule up numbers primarily in garbage time. However, we saw some steps forward from 2015 when he went on the road and faced the Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins in Week 10 and Week 12, respectively. He threw for 210 yards and a touchdown in a tough 23-20 last second loss in Arizona. Two weeks later, he threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns, and scrambled for 113 yards in a tough 31-24 loss to Miami. Things seemed to be progressing.

And then the Bears game happened. The snow was problematic, but the 49ers seemed intent on not throwing the ball. Kaepernick attempted five passes, going 1-of-5 for 4 yards. He was benched early in the fourth quarter for Blaine Gabbert. Chip Kelly has since decided Kaepernick will get the start this weekend against the Jets. It's just been an odd situation.

As for whether or not he'll be back? Well, Kaepernick controls part of that. He restructured his contract so that it ran through 2017, and included an opt-out option after this season. Odds seem pretty good he opts out as he has not had the best relationship with the team. There is some thought he could return, but a lot will depend on who ends up as GM, and what the 49ers want to do at the QB position moving forward. He is not a franchise QB option, but he could be a bridge to the future if they went that way.