Colin Kaepernick might have received a second chance to become a starting NFL quarterback with his old coach. Jim Harbaugh, who coached Kaepernick during his time with the San Francisco 49ers, invited Kaepernick to throw at the annual Michigan spring game. While NFL scouts usually go to major football programs at big universities to check out potential future NFL draft picks, inviting Kaepernick was a way to get teams to see if the former quarterback has anything left in the tank.
Mike Florio of NBC Sports thought it was a smart move by Harbaugh and Kaepernick to avoid any repercussions:
"So, scouts are going to the Michigan spring game. Scouts are going to see what's going on with the incoming class of recruits that are going to be entering the draft next year, or the year after, or the year after that. So you have Colin Kaepernick go and throw, and no one takes any flack, no one gets any blowback. No one's gonna say, 'How dare you go to the Michigan spring game because Colin Kaepernick threw there?' Well, I got to go to the Michigan spring game. It's the Michigan spring game. It's what we do. So I like this. This is genius by Jim Harbaugh, and it just underscores the fact, I mean, if he had gotten the Vikings job, Colin Kaepernick could be on that roster right now."
Colin Kaepernick’s NFL success under Jim Harbaugh
Kaepernick had his most success in the NFL under Jim Harbaugh. The pair took the 49ers to two consecutive NFC Championship games (2012, 2013), and one Super Bowl appearance (2013) where the Niners lost to the Baltimore Ravens, 34-31.
In 2012 and 2013 under Harbaugh’s coaching, Kaepernick went 17-6 as a starter, threw for 5,011 yards, 31 touchdown passes against 11 interceptions, and had 939 rushing yards at an average of six yards per carry, with six rushing touchdowns.
While running quarterbacks are not new in the NFL, Kaepernick helped usher in a new era of wildcat formations and option read plays typically seen at the college level. Kaepernick and Harbaugh were able to capitalize on NFL defenses not being prepared for the 49ers’ run-first, option-read offense. Harbaugh's and Kapernick’s partnership was successful, albeit short. It stands to reason that Harbaugh is doing Kaepernick a favor for old time's sake by inviting him to throw at the Michigan spring game so that NFL scouts can get an idea of what the former quarterback might be able to offer teams in need of a quarterback.