If Bears Wanted A Mentor QB, Colin Kaepernick Beats Mark Sanchez

By Stephen Gossett in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 24, 2017 7:16PM

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Colin Kaepernick / Getty Images / Photo: Harry How

It's official: Mark Sanchez is a quarterback for the Chicago Bears. Like a lot of the team's moves in recent years, the one-year, $2-million signing left plenty of fans flummoxed—and not only because it would still leave the team wanting at the most important offensive position (Bears fans are accustomed to that). It's impossible to not notice that the decision comes as Colin Kaepernick seems unable to garner so much as a glance from teams, following the former 49er's decision to protest oppression of African-Americans by kneeling during the national anthem.

The important thing to keep in mind is the Bears' motivation. The word that pops up in story after story about the Sanchez signing is "mentor." (That's when a motivation can be gleaned; per Deadspin: Bears Sign Mark Sanchez, For Some Reason.) Sanchez, a former fifth overall draft pick who never measured up to the hype and will be forever synonymous with the infamous "butt fumble," was often hailed last year as the wizened tutor who helped encourage and teach the ascendant rookie Dak Prescott in Dallas.

But if it's mentorship the Bears do value most out of this transaction, we'd argue that Colin Kaepernick is a better pick. Yes, he's far from perfect. We won't defend his decision to not vote on Election Day. But his willingness to face the gale force of NFL jingoism and defend his principles to the end of the line exemplifies character. And unlike so many, athletes or otherwise, he puts his money where his mouth. He's making good on a pledge donate a million dollars of his own money, including to the Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation, here in Chicago.

The obvious counterpoint is that Kaepernick was did not inspire confidence on the field last year. By some measurements he was worse than preferred fan punching bag Jay Cutler. And its been argued that cold-weather Chicago is a particularly bad fit for the QB. But the Bears have been clear that Mike Glennon will start, and its unlikely whoever falls lower on the depth chart will see the bulk of the action. And there are signs that, with the right personnel around him for once, Kaepernick could rebound to some degree. More than that, Sanchez—who was cut by the Denver Broncos last offseason—just ain't good.

Lauren Comitor of The Athletic wrote:
"His recent track record doesn’t inspire much confidence. He played in two games for the

Cowboys last season, completing 10 of 18 passes for 93 yards and zero touchdowns. In 2015, he started two games (he saw action in two more), posted a 64.8 completion percentage and threw for four touchdowns."

So the Bears had their pick of at least two veteran quarterbacks who have fallen on rough times after incredible early promise, for a role that seems explicitly geared toward mentorship. Sanchez may have indeed been a source of support for the young Prescott in Dallas last year, but Kaepernick proved a source of support for millions, far beyond the realm of pro sports, in the face of often brutal opposition. It may have never been plausible in a franchise where vocal Kaepernick critic Mike Ditka still looms so large. But it still feels like a really bad fumble.