Taking a knee: How Colin Kaepernick started an NFL movement
The fit is obvious. As obvious as the reasons the former Super Bowl quarterback remains unemployed from the NFL, for going on two years now.
The Seahawks cut Trevone Boykin on Tuesday about an hour after news broke of the No. 3 QB's latest legal issue, a detailed domestic-violence accusation from his girlfriend in Texas. That leaves the team without a backup quarterback. Austin Davis is still listed on the Seahawks' official rosters and website, but Seattle let its contract for six-year veteran and primary backup to Wilson last season expire with the end of the 2017 season. He is an unsigned free agent.
So the Seahawks have gone from three quarterbacks to just Wilson this offseason.
And they remain the only NFL team in the last 14 months to give Kaepernick so much as even a free-agent visit while he's remained out of work. That was last spring, amid the national controversy over the league blackballing him for his protesting racial and social-justice issues by sitting then kneeling during the national anthem at games in 2016. That remains the last season he was employed.
In January 2017 Kaepernick opted out of his contract. New general manager John Lynch later said the 49ers were going to cut him if he hadn't.
Seattle's signing last year of Davis, who has started for the Browns and Rams and once beat the Seahawks once as a Ram, showed how Seattle coach Pete Carroll values an experienced, former NFL starter as the understudy to Wilson. That is after risking it with only the then-rookie Boykin as his lone backup in 2016. It turned out to be the only time in Wilson's six-year career he's missed any game time due to injury, and Boykin having to come into games still in doubt two seasons ago scared the Seahawks into getting a more experienced Plan B at QB.
The fact that was true this time last year remains true today: No quarterback available has more experience—biggest-game, winning, NFL experience—than Kaepernick. And through all he's done, caused and been talked about, he just turned 30 years old in November.
We could create a graduate-level college course discussing the merits of signing Kaepernick. How he's been kept out of the league. The ridiculousness of quarterbacks such as Mike Glennon getting a $45 million contract from the Chicago Bears last year—then getting cut this month.
No offense to Daniel, who by all accounts is a great guy and a team player. Point is, you could insert the name of many, if not most—if not all—of the NFL's current backup quarterbacks and that guy would not be as qualified as Kaepernick is for a No. 2 job in this league.
Take Brandon Weeden. The Houston Texans just did. They signed him on Tuesday. The 34-year-old QB has been dropped by two teams in the last seven months. That includes the team that just signed him again. The Texans cut him in September.
No, Kaepernick isn't playing because teams either, a:) don't want the perceived "distraction" or fan backlash his social activism would bring, b.) they don't want him challenging their starter already in place, not just on the field but in attention, including during the most ballyhooed, regular press meetings with a backup, ever, c.) he refuses to consider any opportunity other than to be a starter again; or d.) because the league's teams and owners believe Kaepernick should be punished for his activism and what it spawned, detracting from their product and, more to the point, their money making.
Pete Carroll spoke at Tuesday's annual coaches' luncheon at the NFL owners' meetings in Orlando, Fla., before the news about Boykin's last-straw issue broke and the Seahawks released him.
If Carroll is asked again while Wilson is still the only quarterback on Seattle's roster about Kaepernick, the coach may reiterate his unique reason for why the Seahawks didn't sign him after they hosted him last May. Call it reason e.), as in, extremely difficult to envision.
Yes, Carroll said the Seahawks didn't sign Kaepernick last year essentially because he was too good.
“He’s a starter in this league, you know. And we have a starter," Carroll said June 2.
“But he’s a starter in this league, and I can’t imagine somebody won’t give him a chance to play.”
Another chance just opened up. In Seattle.
There's at least one other former NFL starter in his early 30s with playoff experience available. This one has been out of the league for as long as has Kaepernick. Unlike Kaepernick, he has been a star for Carroll.
Mark Sanchez hasn't played since two games for Dallas in 2016. He's 31 years old. His last playoff games, his only ones, were in the 2009 and '10 seasons with the New York Jets.
In 2008, he went 12-1 and was the most valuable player of the Rose Bowl quarterbacking Carroll's USC Trojans.
Sanchez's two best seasons in the NFL, those '09 and '10 years with the Jets, came with Brian Schottenheimer as his play caller and offensive coordinator in New York.
Guess who is Carroll's new play caller and offensive coordinator for Seattle? Schottenheimer.
So, yes, there are other, experienced backup quarterbacks out there for Carroll and the Seahawks to consider now that they don't have any behind Wilson.
That's not going to silence the chorus for Colin Kaepernick.