Over halfway through the 2017 season, Colin Kaepernick is still unemployed – and still the topic of contentious debate. And even with injuries piling up for NFL starting quarterbacks, a signing looks nowhere in sight. On Oct. 15 it was announced he would file a grievance against the NFL's owners for collusion in keeping him out of the league.
Here's how the 2016 performance of the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback compares to the 2017 performance of each team’s most recent starter, using a stat called adjusted net yards per attempt.
Among starting quarterbacks, 13 are worse than Kaepernick, 4 are about the same (plus or minus 0.35 ANY/A) and 15 are better.
Having a capable starter under center in the NFL is a requirement for success, and adjusted net yards per attempt is one of the best measurements available for QB passing performance. It correlates more closely with winning than either traditional passer rating or yards per attempt.
Note that ANY/A only measures passing. Quarterbacks who run a lot – such as Kaepernick, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson and Marcus Mariota – are not given credit for those contributions. Here’s the full starting QB ranking, from worst to best:
|Player||Team||Total seasons||2017 Passing Stats||ANY/A|
|32.||Nathan Peterman||Buffalo BUF||Rookie||49.0% comp, 2 TD, 5 INT||1.24|
|31.||DeShone Kizer||Cleveland CLE||Rookie||53.9% comp, 9 TD, 17 INT||3.72|
|30.||Brett Hundley||Green Bay GB||2||63.9% comp, 8 TD, 8 INT||4.28|
|29.||Joe Flacco||Baltimore BAL||10||64.5% comp, 13 TD, 12 INT||4.40|
|28.||Tom Savage||Houston HOU||3||56.1% comp, 5 TD, 6 INT||4.44|
|27.||Trevor Siemian||Denver DEN||3||59.1% comp, 12 TD, 13 INT||4.48|
|26.||Blaine Gabbert||Arizona ARI||7||60.8% comp, 6 TD, 5 INT||4.64|
|25.||Eli Manning||N.Y. Giants NYG||14||63.0% comp, 15 TD, 9 INT||5.08|
|24.||Jay Cutler||Miami MIA||12||64.1% comp, 18 TD, 11 INT||5.14|
|23.||Jacoby Brissett||Indianapolis IND||2||59.8% comp, 11 TD, 7 INT||5.21|
|22.||Mitch Trubisky||Chicago CHI||Rookie||58.2% comp, 6 TD, 4 INT||5.24|
|21.||Marcus Mariota||Tennessee TEN||3||62.2% comp, 10 TD, 14 INT||5.25|
|20.||Cam Newton||Carolina CAR||7||60.0% comp, 17 TD, 12 INT||5.38|
|Kaepernick (2016)||San Francisco SF||6||59.2% comp, 16 TD, 4 INT||5.92|
|19.||Josh McCown||N.Y. Jets NYJ||15||67.3% comp, 18 TD, 9 INT||6.00|
|18.||Andy Dalton||Cincinnati CIN||7||60.7% comp, 21 TD, 9 INT||6.05|
|17.||Dak Prescott||Dallas DAL||2||63.2% comp, 21 TD, 9 INT||6.19|
|16.||Blake Bortles||Jacksonville JAX||4||60.2% comp, 16 TD, 8 INT||6.21|
|15.||Derek Carr||Oakland OAK||4||63.8% comp, 18 TD, 10 INT||6.33|
|14.||Jameis Winston||Tampa Bay TB||3||62.6% comp, 14 TD, 8 INT||6.41|
|13.||Kirk Cousins||Washington WSH||6||65.9% comp, 22 TD, 9 INT||6.63|
|12.||Ben Roethlisberger||Pittsburgh PIT||14||63.3% comp, 24 TD, 13 INT||6.74|
|11.||Russell Wilson||Seattle SEA||6||61.9% comp, 29 TD, 11 INT||6.80|
|10.||Matt Ryan||Atlanta ATL||10||65.9% comp, 17 TD, 11 INT||6.91|
|9.||Matthew Stafford||Detroit DET||9||65.6% comp, 23 TD, 9 INT||6.94|
|8.||Case Keenum||Minnesota MIN||6||66.8% comp, 18 TD, 7 INT||6.99|
|7.||Jimmy Garoppolo||San Francisco SF||4||66.7% comp, 2 TD, 2 INT||7.37|
|6.||Carson Wentz||Philadelphia PHI||2||60.2% comp, 33 TD, 7 INT||7.43|
|5.||Alex Smith||Kansas City KC||12||67.2% comp, 23 TD, 5 INT||7.56|
|4.||Philip Rivers||L.A. Chargers LAC||14||62.8% comp, 23 TD, 7 INT||7.68|
|3.||Drew Brees||New Orleans NO||17||71.7% comp, 19 TD, 6 INT||7.75|
|2.||Jared Goff||L.A. Rams LAR||2||62.2% comp, 22 TD, 6 INT||7.75|
|1.||Tom Brady||New England NE||18||67.4% comp, 27 TD, 6 INT||7.78|
About this story
All data from Pro Football Reference. Quarterback photos are from the NFL via Pro Football Reference, with the exception of Colin Kaepernick (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP).
Originally published Sept. 7, 2017.