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Richard Sherman believes Colin Kaepernick being treated unfairly

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Sherman: NFL refusing to recognize Kaepernick's 'high level of play' (2:09)

Richard Sherman points to NFL teams signing QBs who've had rough seasons, so any hesitance to sign Colin Kaepernick couldn't be football-related. (2:09)

Richard Sherman once counted Colin Kaepernick among his biggest rivals.

Now, the Seattle Seahawks cornerback believes Kaepernick is being treated unfairly.

Appearing on ESPN First Take Friday, Sherman was asked if Kaepernick is being blackballed by NFL teams.

"... There was a year Matt Schaub had a pretty rough year and got signed the next year. So it has nothing to do with football. You can see that. They signed guys who have had off years before."

Richard Sherman, on Colin Kaepernick

"I'm sure he is," Sherman said. "It's difficult to see because he's played at such a high level, and you see guys, quarterbacks, who have never played at a high level being signed by teams. So it's difficult to understand. Obviously he's going to be in a backup role at this point. But you see quarterbacks, there was a year Matt Schaub had a pretty rough year and got signed the next year. So it has nothing to do with football. You can see that. They signed guys who have had off years before."

While Sherman initially said Kaepernick would have to settle for a backup role, he later changed his mind when considering some of the other quarterbacks who have gotten starting jobs.

"You don't have 32 starting-level quarterbacks in this league," Sherman said. "You have about eight elites, and then you have the rest of the league. You have about eight, nine elite quarterbacks. You have two or three who have the potential to be elite. And then you have the rest of the teams. So he could play and start on a ton of teams in this league. He would be a starter on probably 20 of the teams in this league. But you're telling me that you're going to let other guys, you're going to pick up some of these other guys and tell me that they're starters?"

Sherman's pass breakup against Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers in the 2013 NFC Championship Game sent the Seattle Seahawks to the Super Bowl. In Week 17 of last season, Kaepernick completed 17 of 22 passes for 215 yards and a touchdown in a 25-23 loss to the Seahawks.

Sherman said he doesn't buy the theory that it's too early to make judgments about why Kaepernick hasn't been signed.

"It's not early in the process," Sherman said. "Free agency, it's not like any other league. You see all that quick action happening, then everybody waits."