How the media’s continued attention on Kaepernick is hurting his chances in finding a job in the NFL
Whether it’s talking about his infamous kneel, his pig-imprinted socks, or whether or not he needs a haircut – Colin Kaepernick is the most talked about (yet, unemployed) QB in the National Football League since Tim Tebow. Although one can argue how Tebow’s unemployment mainly had to do with what he could – or could not – do on the football field, Kaepernick’s situation doesn’t involve his on the field production.
At least that’s what it seems like.
Is Kaepernick better than the majority of the backups? Without question. He’s led a team to back-to-back NFC Championships and nearly won a Super Bowl. No backup has that on their resume. Colin took a knee last season that would affect his employment going forward in a way I don’t think he anticipated.
His political stance undoubtedly encouraged others – both within and outside the NFL – to be confident and voice their political views. Many players from different teams were observed raising their fists or kneeling to show solidarity with what Kaepernick was trying to do. Utilize his platform to convey his beliefs.
Now – nearing the start of training camp – Kaepernick is unemployed. Many teams are hesitant to sign Kaep due to the media attention it would bring. Many analysts on national sports networks have continuously been outspoken in support of Kaepernick – going so far as to say he’s being blackballed by the league.
But are they helping or hurting Kaep’s chances of being on an NFL sideline this fall?
I believe that – although their intentions seem genuine – analysts that are using their platform to demonstrate how he’s being treated unfairly are doing more damage than good. Kaepernick is almost a topic of focus every day on the national sports shows. Some support his cause, some justify his unemployment. Either way, he’s being talked about day after day.
“There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”- Phineas T. Barnum
Well, in Kaep’s case, there is. In order for him to gain employment, his name has to slowly fade away from the national spotlight. Debating on whether or not he deserves a chance in the league is not a debate at all. His skill set and winning record settle that discussion.
He’s not going to change his political views – that’s a given. No one should. However, as long as the media continues to use Kaepernick’s situation to boost ratings or to fill the void due to being a slow time in sports, Colin will remain in the unemployment line.
Realistically, how does he fit with all 31 teams? (the Niners are out) Let’s take a look at the legit options he has in the league.
Buffalo – Tyrod Taylor’s got the job. He’s a Pro Bowl player who Buffalo’s front office still believes in. Cardale Jones still has potential due to what he did in the National Championship a few years back. TJ Yates is, well, TJ Yates. The Bills Invested a draft pick in Nathan Peterman, who showed promise in College. Not too likely Kaep lands here.
Miami – Tannehill’s job – but this will be a make or break year for him. Matt Moore has proved to be a back up that can come in and perform while giving the team a good chance to win. He does so with little to no distraction. The Dolphins won’t turn up the heat on Tannehill’s seat, which is already burning up. No Kaepernick – at least in 2017 – in Miami.
Patriots – Brady, Garoppolo, Brissett. They aren’t making any moves to add to the QB depth chart. The system is built to win with the three they currently have. Belichick even humoring Kaepernick would never happen. Ever. The irony of Kaepernick being a Patriot would create waves in the mainstream media. Not happening.
Jets – Weakest QB depth chart – quite possibly in the NFL. However, Jets are in rebuild mode. They can’t afford to rebuild around a guy who’s always going to be a topic of discussion outside of his play on the field. Would he help the team? Certainly. But winning games is something that the Jets apparently don’t want to do in 2017. Colin would win just enough games to put New York in an unfavorable spot to land their 2018 Draft Target – Sam Darnold.
Ravens – Flacco’s not going anywhere. Mallett seems to be their clipboard guy. John’s brother Jim could give him the inside scoop on how Kaepernick would be a great team player. John would have a hard time convincing Baltimore’s upper brass on signing Colin since the team is just a few seasons away from the Ray Rice incident that ate up the headlines. Probably won’t see Kaepernick in a Ravens jersey.
Bengals – Andy Dalton and his backup AJ McCarron seem to be set. Marvin Lewis doesn’t want to make his seat hotter by bringing in a QB who will bring controversy – by choice or not. Bengals already have their share of off field media attention from PacMan Jones.
Browns– Another unstable QB depth chart with no clear-cut favorite. They’ll roll with what they have and hope DeShone Kizer can be the player they thought he could be when they selected him in the 2nd round. The RG3 project failed, so the Kaepernick project has no chance.
Steelers – Big Ben flirted with retirement. Landry Jones is not the answer. Why not Pittsburgh? They’ll see during training camp is 4th round selection Joshua Dobbs will be the answer for life after Big Ben. If the backups look sub par and Roethlisberger health and durability a concern, Kaep may find a home in the Steel City, but it would take a lot to make it happen.
Texans – With Tom Savage having a chance to “win the job”, it won’t be his for long. The Texans invested a lot of draft capital to move up and get their guy in Deshaun Watson. Weeden suits the third string role. O’Brien will have a chance to prove he really is the “QB Whisperer” he’s been labeled for so long. It will be proven by how Watson develops. If you know what hits the fan, I think the Texans ride it out with their rookie and allow him to get through the growing pains of a rookie NFL QB. Houston not on the table for Kaep.
Colts – The Colts actually make sense if you’re looking strictly at the QB depth chart. If Luck’s injury results in him missing more time or he goes down, an offense led by Scott Tolzien means a high draft pick in 2018. However, owner Jim Irsay is the head clown of the media circus in Indy. He won’t sign Kaepernick, even if it would make the most sense because he’s already being questioned for his own behavior.
Jaguars – Bortles will try to regain the confidence of the team and prove to Tom Coughlin he’s the right man for the job during a contract year. Henne is a decent backup who can perform if need be. Kaepernick just doesn’t seem like someone Coughlin would like to be a part of his crop of signed players in Jacksonville. Kaepernick in the Jaguars offense with new running back Leonard Fournette – and the Allen brothers, Dede Westbrook, and Marquise Lee at the receiver spots – this offense would really make some noise. Kaepernick would add a lot than Bortles simply cannot. His ability to make plays with his legs and his arm would make him an ideal piece to take Jacksonville to the next level. As a Titans fan, I wouldn’t like the signing. Thankfully, I doubt it happens.
Titans – Mariota is the man. The Titans are banking on him to stay healthy this season and take the offense to another level. Cassel, again, is a decent backup. He can come in – and maybe not win – but can keep the offense moving. But he’s hurt. If the Titans weren’t near completing a cultural rebuild, taking a chance on Kaepernick would be worth it. His play style is similar to Mariota’s, so if the worst happened, Kaep could step in and keep the offensive rhythm in a way Cassel can’t. But, the team is not wanting any media attention for anything other than winning games.
Broncos – Kaepernick was once a potential trade target of John Elway, but nothing ever developed and Colin stayed in San Fran. The QB depth chart is very suspect as the Broncos have the defensive pieces to make another run in the AFC. Siemien and Lynch are fighting for the top spot, but neither last year showed they are a clear-cut starter. Elway must realize the playoff window is slowly getting smaller. Kaepernick in Denver would be worth the media baggage he would bring if it meant challenging for the AFC Crown.
Chargers – Rivers isn’t going anywhere and isn’t falling off. Kellen Clemens is not better than Kaep but may be way cheaper. The move to LA won’t include adding Kaepernick to the fold as Chargers will look to address other areas of their rosters.
Chiefs – No chance. Alex Smith is still cemented as the starter of this offense – even though the cement may be cracking. Patrick Mahomes II was brought on to be the QB of the future. No room for Kaepernick to join Andy Reid’s team – even though his game is a lot similar to a QB in Philly he took to multiple NFC Championships.
Raiders – The Raiders are on the cusp of being a top team in the AFC and a Super Bowl contender. They just resigned Carr to a huge deal – and Cook and Manuel will compete for the backup role. Kaepernick won’t be wearing the silver and black – unless he’s available and the Raiders are in a desperate situation late in the season. They went through that once, and won’t do it again. Oakland will want to make the last seasons in the Bay memorable. If Carr goes down and the Raiders are in the playoffs, Kaep could be a life raft to keep the machine rolling. Maybe, but Oakland won’t plan for it.
Cowboys – America’s team isn’t signing the most talked about backup – they’ve already gone through a season of that with Tony Romo. With Romo out of the picture, Prescott can play even more relaxed than the rookie of the year did last season. Kellen Moore is a serviceable backup. Although Jerry may love the headlines, I think he’ll let this one go. If something happens to Dak that forces him to miss games, Romo will get a phone call before Kaepernick.
Giants – Eli Manning with new weapons means more success. Geno Smith and Josh Johnson will duel it out, but not sure both make the roster. Either way, the New York Football Giants won’t pursue Kaepernick.
Eagles – After trading up for their guy Wentz, Philly will not create a QB controversy by bringing in Kaepernick. If they did sign Kaep due to Wentz going down – and Kaep showed out – the relentless Philly fans would make it hard for Wentz to overcome poor performances with Kaepernick on the sidelines. Nick Foles as a backup will be a good option, with McGloin the potential 3rd string.
Redskins – The RG3 era is over. But the Kirk Cousins’ contract debate is a constant subject of discussion. Is he their long-term guy? Is he destined for greener pastures following this season? Who knows. He’s there this year and Colt McCoy will hold down the backup role. If Kaepernick signs with the Redskins, it won’t be this season. Also, with Kaepernick’s political views, not sure he’s a supporter of the team name which will keep him from putting the pen to the paper in nation’s capital.
Bears – Signing Mike Glennon to a huge contract and drafting Mitch Trubisky 2nd overall completely eliminated Colin’s chances in Chicago. “Buttfumble” Sanchez will be a fixture on the sidelines and good at holding a clipboard. Chicago’s not an option.
Detroit – They’ll back on Stafford to stay healthy – as they options behind him are not very good. Rookie Brad Kaaya – who’s game in college was slightly similar to Kaepernick’s will have a chance if Stafford goes down. No Kaep in the motor city.
Packers – Rodgers. Enough said. Green Bay is comfortable with Hundley at backup. Kaepernick is not even close to being on Ted Thompson’s radar.
Vikings – Bradford is the guy – but he’s as durable as a porcelain doll. When he is available, he’s one of the most accurate signal callers in the game. The heartbreak of losing Bridgewater really set the team back. Case Keenum has been put in the position to win games, but he’s no Kaepernick. Similar to the Raiders – if they are forced to go with Keenum, they may sniff around to see what Kaep’s asking price is solely out of desperation. I don’t see him as a Mike Zimmer guy, though.
Falcons – one year removed from the biggest Super Bowl letdown, there is no chance in hell they make offseason noise signing Kaep. Matty Ice will look to duplicate his play from last season, and Matt Schaub will be ready and willing to step in and manage the offense.
Panthers – They just fired their GM. The new GM won’t bring in Kaepernick as one of the first major moves. Cam’s the man in Carolina – with Derek Anderson and Joe Webb being affordable and less distractive options. Even though Kaepernick would bridge the gap in a situation that involves Newton going down, Rivera will pass.
Saints – Drew Brees is up in age, but that’s just a number. Brees can still light it up and now has Adrian Peterson – who if he returns to form – can take off some of the pressure in the passing game. Chase Daniels, Garrett Grayson, and Ryan Nassib’s combined stats don’t equal Kaepernick’s. NOLA could be an option if Saints question Brees’ durability.
Bucs – Tampa won’t add Kaepernick in order to avoid any chance of hindering Winston’s development. They just signed Ryan Fitzpatrick – who has the tendency to be an interception machine. He’s an interesting option as the backup because he can be the difference between winning and losing the game. He’s not better than Kaep, but the Bucs won’t plan on seeing Fitz outside of a dire situation or during garbage time at the end of big wins.
Cardinals – I thought Kaepernick had a good chance to land in Arizona – this was prior to the signing of Kaepernick’s backup Blaine Gabbert. I felt Arizona had a good grasp of what Colin could do in the case that Carson Palmer goes down. They thought otherwise. Would have been interesting to see Kaepernick in the desert, but it won’t happen. Not unless the Cardinals’ are competing to win the division and lose Palmer late in the year. If the division is on the line – and Gabbert can’t keep it together – Arizona won’t waste Larry Fitzgerald’s potentially final season without giving Fitz and the Bird Gang the best chance to make it out of the West.
Rams – Rolling into the season with Jared Goff and Sean Mannion – should they just be awarded a top three pick now? This is a very weak QB depth. Goff still hasn’t shown why he was worth trading a King’s ransom for to take 1st overall. Mannion – well, not much to add about him. LA needs a spark and they know what Kaepernick can do, but they would do damage to Goff’s confidence by bringing him onto the team. He would help their situation at QB though. A lot.
Seahawks – Colin seemed destined to become the emergency option if Russell Wilson went down. The Seahawks – having dealt with Kaepernick – knew his effectiveness more than a lot of other teams. Seattle’s roster has been backing Colin’s campaign, so a locker room distraction stemming from Kaepernick’s political stance didn’t seem to be a problem. Pete and the brass passed on Colin, but praised him as a starter in this league? Someone felt it wasn’t worth the headache. They’ll look to Boykin and Austin Davis to be the solution if things go wrong in Seattle.
49ers – we all know that’s off the table.
Will Colin Throw a Football in 2017
With all that being said, Kaepernick’s best fit would be Jacksonville – if they weren’t committed to Bortles. There are a few other scenarios in which he would be sought after – but most include teams losing their main guy to injury. It’s happened before.
Above Photo credit for Mariota Photo/Rob Foldy/Getty Images Photo credit for Carr Photo/ Getty
Teams like the Raiders, Steelers, Titans, Cardinals, and Colts would look to Kaepernick if their team lost their starting QB in the last leg of the season. A paycheck could be in the cards for Colin if playoff teams are in despair.
Other teams – like the Jets who could use Kaepernick’s services now – won’t want to because they are looking to their position in next year’s draft to answer QB questions.
Will Kaepernick be signed by training camp? Probably not. Will he be on a team at the tail end of the Preseason? Depends on if there are any unexpected injuries at the QB spot to address. Will Kaep be signed during the NFL Season? Again, it depends on which teams are in desperation mode with playoff implications at stake.
Either way, the chances of Kaepernick playing football this fall are pretty high. I mean, worst case scenario for Colin, if he can’t find a job in the NFL, would be to pursue the Canadian League. At least there, his political stance on America won’t hold any weight and his performance on the field will be all that matters.
It should be the same in the NFL. But, it is what it is.
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