"It was hard to kind of see that trajectory because he was playing so good, and doing things nobody had done. I think he still holds the single-game rushing record for a quarterback. It was crazy.
"So with that said, it was so absurd—I think equally—that it was only a few years later when you're like, 'This guy doesn't have a job.' That was hard to imagine. It still is, a guy with his ability and his trajectory that all of a sudden wasn't playing."
Kaepernick last played in the NFL during the 2016 season, when he started 11 games for the 49ers. He threw for 2,241 yards with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions, but the team managed just a 1-10 record in those games.
That same season, Kaepernick began his protest of social injustice by taking a knee during the national anthem before games. He became a free agent in March 2017 after opting out of his contract with the 49ers.
There have been no indications teams have even been close to signing Kaepernick over the past three years. He was scheduled to have a workout with the Seattle Seahawks in April 2018, but ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the team postponed the visit when Kaepernick declined to say whether or not he would stop kneeling during the anthem.
The NFL attempted to set up a workout with Kaepernick and invited all 32 teams last November, but it wound up not taking place as planned.
Kaepernick moved the event to an Atlanta-area high school hours before the scheduled time because, per USA Today's Mike Jones, his legal team was unsatisfied with the league's terms listed in a workout waiver.
Smith and Kaepernick know each other well from their time with the 49ers. They played two seasons together from 2011 to '12, with Kaepernick taking over for Smith as the starting quarterback midway through 2012.
San Francisco traded Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs in March 2013. He played five seasons with the Chiefs before being dealt to the Washington Redskins after the 2017 season.
Smith led the Redskins to a 6-4 record in 10 starts, but he hasn't played since Week 11 of the 2018 season after suffering a spiral compound fracture in his right leg against the Houston Texans.