NFL Playoffs 2013: Colin Kaepernick's Play vs. Packers Will Shape 49ers' Future

David DanielsSenior Writer IJanuary 12, 2013

SEATTLE, WA. - DECEMBER 23: Quarterback Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers looks for a call from the sidelines during the second quarter of the game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on December 23, 2012 in Seattle,Wa. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Colin Kaepernick is still in Alex Smith’s shadow as the 2013 NFL playoffs commence.

If Kaepernick chokes against the Green Bay Packers, Jim Harbaugh still possesses the option to give Smith his job back. But if the younger quarterback carries the San Francisco 49ers to victory, Harbaugh can finally afford to feel confident about trading Smith this offseason.

While Kaepernick continues to be labeled "the future" of the 49ers, he’s only three years younger than Smith. Such a small age gap should be irrelevant when it comes to deciding who should start under center. Forget youth—in this case, the more talented QB should start regardless of his birth certificate.

And Kaepernick has yet to prove he’s the more talented QB.

In Week 16 against the Seattle Seahawks, he was downright pitiful completing just 52.8 percent of his passes and finishing with a QBR of 27.8. While Kaepernick has played extremely well for the most part, anything but perfection will keep Smith in the picture.

The former No. 1 pick has now completed 26 of his last 28 pass attempts. That’s insane.

Winning will make fans forget that a passer of that caliber is holding a clipboard, but losing will create a quarterback controversy.

If Kaepernick proves he’s the better QB this postseason, it would do wonders for the franchise.

Smith hasn’t been this valuable since he was selected first overall. In a poor quarterback class, the Kansas City Chiefs, Jacksonville Jaguars, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills and New York Jets are all desperate for the position.

How much could the 49ers get for Smith? Who knows?

Considering that the Philadelphia Eagles got a Pro Bowl cornerback and a second-round pick for Kevin Kolb who had a passer rating of 76.1 the year before he was traded, San Francisco would likely make bank on Smith and his 104.1 rating.

That only becomes an option, though, if Kaepernick doesn’t cost the 49ers a win at some point in the playoffs.


David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.