In the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests and subsequent rallies for George Floyd, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement announcing that he and the rest of the league were wrong for not listening to NFL players regarding race relationships. Colin Kaepernick, of course, started a national conversation when he kneeled during the National Anthem. The league essentially banned him for this form of non-violent protest, but he could earn a spot in the NFL following Goodell’s change of heart.
Colin Kaepernick probably isn’t a starting-caliber quarterback at this point in his career, but he deserves a shot to prove himself as a viable backup in training camp. There is no such thing as too many good quarterbacks, and there are several teams that should take a shot at the former second-round pick.
Possible Team Fits for Colin Kaepernick
The Seahawks scheduled a workout with Kaepernick back in 2018, so there’s definitely some interest here. However, Seattle ultimately canceled it after Kaepernick told the team he would continue to kneel during the National Anthem. Nobody will ever know whether this cancellation came from the organization itself or pressure from the outside, but the Seahawks should give Kaepernick another opportunity.
Russell Wilson is one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and Kaepernick won’t threaten Wilson’s job any time soon. However, the depth behind Wilson leaves a lot to be desired. Should injury strike, the Seahawks would have to turn to either Geno Smith or Anthony Gordon. Smith is a former second-round pick that burned out with the Jets and hasn’t been a regular starter since the 2014 season. Gordon, meanwhile, is an undrafted free agent. Even if Kaepernick is a shell of his former self, he’s probably still an upgrade on what the Seahawks currently have.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have a great defense, tons of offensive potential, and a massive question mark at the quarterback position. Ben Roethlisberger is obviously a good quarterback when healthy, but it’s hard to trust him to stay healthy. The 38-year old suffered a season-ending elbow injury in his throwing arm last year, which is obviously terrible news for his future. Roethlisberger may or may not have had Tommy John surgery, and that typically means a 12-18 month recovery period in baseball. There’s a very real chance that Roethlisberger isn’t his old self in 2020, and that would be awful for Pittsburgh.
Last year, the quarterback duo of Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges proved that they were not ready to be the future of the franchise. The offense was one of the worst in the league, and nobody wants to see another season of that. At the very least, Kaepernick offers a higher floor than Rudolph and Hodges, with at least some upside. That might just be enough to bring the Steelers back to the playoffs if something happens to Roethlisberger.
Despite the impressive win-loss record from one season ago, the jury is still out on whether or not Josh Allen is a true franchise quarterback. The former first-round pick makes some of the best plays you’ll ever see sandwiched between some truly mind-boggling decisions and terrible downfield accuracy. The rest of this team is ready to win a championship, but the quarterback is the most important ingredient. If Allen doesn’t take a step forward in Year 3, this will ultimately be a wasted year for a talented roster.
Kaepernick isn’t the player he once was, but he’d certainly add some competition for Allen. Matt Barkley isn’t stealing anyone’s job, and the Bills should have a Plan B in case Allen regresses. Last year, the Tennessee Titans used a similar strategy by acquiring Ryan Tannehill as a backup. That obviously worked out, as Tannehill led the Titans all the way to the AFC Championship Game.
The Baltimore Ravens aren’t desperate for a backup quarterback, but Colin Kaepernick is a perfect fit for what they do. Lamar Jackson is an unparalleled athlete, and the scheme would have to change if injury struck. However, Kaepernick is the next best thing and has a history of success with offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Roman worked with Kaepernick in 2012 and 2013, which were the best seasons of his young career. Obviously, Kaepernick won’t be able to match his 2012 and 2013 production in 2020. However, he’s familiar with the system and could probably keep the ship afloat if Jackson had to miss time.
New England Patriots
The Patriots appear to be all-in on fourth-round rookie Jarrett Stidham. Nobody truly knows how good this guy is, but the only other quarterback of note on the roster is Brian Hoyer. Hoyer might be more familiar with New England’s system, but he’s never been anything more than a serviceable backup. If Stidham isn’t as good as New England thinks, they’re in trouble. Adding Kaepernick into the mix would give the Patriots more quarterback insurance if Stidham doesn’t work out, as it’s pretty safe to assume that Hoyer wouldn’t do too well under center.
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