SEATTLE+KAEPERNICK=PERFECT….AND THAT’S THE PROBLEM WITH SIGNING HIM.
On the surface, the Seattle Seahawks seems like the perfect destination for the polarizing free agent that is Colin Kaepernick. Seattle incorporates parts of the Zone Read Option in its offense which Kap used in college and his early years in San Francisco with great success. Kaepernick was once compared to the current starter, Russell Wilson, because of their ability to scramble and create on the run once a play had broken down. Even though Wilson is more of a shifty runner compared to Kap’s straight line speed, both are very dangerous with their legs and must be accounted for by the defense. Current Seattle back up, Trevone Boykin, was arrested twice in a two week span so it’s safe to say that the back-up quarterback position will surely be opening up. Even though Colin is no longer viewed as a starter capable of capturing the lighting in a bottle he used to propel the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012, he would be considered top tier when it comes to back-ups. It’s not every day you find a former 58 game starter with Super Bowl experience on his resume just sitting at home waiting for someone to call with an opportunity. Should the Seahawks be the team to provide that opportunity?
No. Emphatic NO!
WHAT?! How dare I say that? I must be a Kap hater.
Let me finish before you crucify me.
Sure, Pete Carroll is probably the perfect coach to handle Kaepernick and all the attention that comes with him due to his season long protest in 2016 where he sat down at first then kneeled during the National Anthem. As noble as Kaepernick’s protest of police injustices against minorities was, it managed to split America into two parts. There were those who supported Kap and those that felt he disrespected the flag. Carroll and his players have been very supportive of Colin while he was still with the 49ers and went as far as to link arms before games in their own form of protest. Bennett, a leader in that locker room, stated publicly that Seattle would be perfect for Kaepernick and that he would welcome him. Pete encourages his players to be outspoken, be themselves and not to hold back on or off the field.
So Pete won’t be problem if Kap’s signed. The players would welcome him with open arms.
So what gives then? Why not sign Kap?
Just wait…there’s more.
If this entire situation had happened 2 years ago then the decision would be a no-brainer. Sign him, move onto your offseason program and never look back. Honestly, if this was just ONE year ago then I would say the same thing. It would be a non-issue even with the protesting and the distractions his social justice work brings.
Let’s not kid ourselves please. Colin DOES come with distractions, LOTS of them. Pete’s already had to deal with them and he hasn’t even signed Colin to the team. All he’s done is bring him in for a talk but that didn’t stop a Socialist Seattle City council member, who admitted she “is not a football expert,” from publicly campaigning for the Seahawks to sign him because of what she’s read about Colin. By doing this she has put pressure on the Seahawks organization to sign him and opened up the door for criticism if he’s not signed. Sure she probably has a political agenda and is pandering for votes in her next election but it’s still something that Head Coach Carroll and now General Manager John Schneider will have to address. That’s the definition of a distraction in the world of the NFL. Then there’s John Mara, co-owner of the New York Giants, who publicly addressed the situation even though his team doesn’t even need a quarterback and they play 2,906 miles from San Francisco, the quarterback’s former team.
“All my years in the league, I never received more emotional mail from people than I did about that issue,” says Mara. ‘’If one of your players ever do that, we are never coming to another Giants game.’”
Now John Mara isn’t stating his opinion on the matter but he is stating the reaction he’s received from his fans. Like it or not, this is some of the baggage Kaepernick comes with from now on whether he protests or not. This is the reality we live in. There are 32 teams, 32 owners and 32 Head Coaches or decision makers that will have to answer questions if they are connected to the unemployed quarterback in any way shape or form.
However, with all that said, the problem isn’t with Kap if this were to happen. The problem is with Seattle. Let’s start off with the Frank Clark situation. Seattle took a lot of heat for drafting Frank Clark because he was arrested in college for domestic violence. Natalie Weiner of Bleacher Report referenced his arrest when writing an article about Greg Hardy. Apparently it pissed off Frank and he addressed Natalie on Twitter.
Wow! Yeah, he actually said that to her. Someone arrested of domestic violence failed to read the room and lashed out on her in one of the most brain dead ways possible. So there’s one mess Pete Carroll has to clean up.
Fire not hot enough in the Seattle locker room yet? Let’s throw some more gas on it then. Seth Wickersham of ESPN recently came out with a very inflammatory article detailing the dysfunction going on in Pete Carroll’s kumbaya palace which centers around Richard Sherman and Russell Wilson. Long story short, apparently Sherman can’t let go of the team’s loss in Super Bowl 49 and specifically blames Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll for the loss. Sherman, not known for biting his tongue, didn’t hide his frustration when Pete Carroll chose to throw from the 1 yard line against the Rams last season and confronted his head coach. Seems like passionate cornerback has a little PTSD from the Super Bowl and reliving the same exact play that lost them the championship set him off.
“I don’t like it when we throw the ball at the 1[yard line],” Sherman explained to reporters. “We throw an interception at the 1. Luckily it went incomplete, and I wasn’t going to let them continue to do that. I was letting Pete know. I was making sure Pete knew that we’re not comfortable with you throwing the ball at the 1.”
The turmoil doesn’t end there. The tension with Russell isn’t exclusive to Sherman. There are others that have animosity aimed at Wilson, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Some believed the quarterback was given endorsements that should have gone to them. There’s also a feeling among players that Carroll kind of coddles Wilson and goes out of his way to protect him. Seth’s article showed a great example of this when he told the story about Sherman picking off Russell in practice and then telling him “You F—ing suck!” After that incident, Pete held a meeting to get the message across that players should support their quarterback and build each other up, not tear each other down. Geez, he might as well be breast feeding Russell.
The drama involving Ciara’s husband doesn’t end there. It’s not all football related and here is where things get VERY dicey if Kaepernick is added to the mix. Mike Freeman had a piece in 2014 that explained why Percy Harvin was traded. He had a great deal of animosity towards Wilson and it seemed to keep growing so Seattle did what most teams would do, they chose the quarterback’s side and shipped out the wide receiver. In that piece, Freeman mentioned that a problem a lot of players had with Wilson is that he’s too close to the front office, doesn’t take blame for his mistakes and in their eyes…isn’t “black” enough. I’m not sure what that means but apparently “it’s a thing.” In Kaepernick you have the polar opposite of Russell Wilson. Kaepernick’s protest now gives him a persona of “anti-establishment,” a champion against the greater evil. Doubt teammates will be looking at him as if he’s sucking up to the front office. Growing along with Kap’s activism has also been an embrace of the black half of his bi-racial ethnicity. Colin has positioned himself to be the face of a black America that struggles against injustice and has made it a point to show the world he’s proud of his heritage and the history that comes along with it. The once famous afro hair style sported in 1960’s and associated with the members of the Black Panther Party is now synonymous with Kaepernick and his movement. No worries about the players questioning his “blackness” if he’s on the team.
To any objective and logical fan, it can’t be argued that Russell Wilson is LIGHT YEARS ahead of Kaep as a quarterback. Problem is this situation has proven to be anything but objective and logical. It’s emotional and emotion in the locker room can cloud judgement as to who is the better quarterback. Kaepernick isn’t Russell Wilson but he’s no slouch either. His main problem is that he’s just too inconsistent. In 2016 he had 16 touchdowns to 4 interceptions which looked like very decent production on the surface. If you dig deeper though, you’ll see that Kap had a 115 passer rating in the 1st half of games and only a 70 in the 2nd half. His completion percentage dropped from 72% in the 1st half to an abysmal 48% in the 2nd. He has flashes of brilliance but is just too inconsistent to be a starter. Russell is a tough man, no matter what you think of him, his heart can’t be questioned. He’s played while banged up but if he were to miss a couple of games and Kap shows off some of those “flashes of brilliance,” it could lead to a wider divide within the locker room. Even if Kap doesn’t play a single snap, he could still possibly cause a rift just by players preferring his authenticity to Russell Wilson.
As good of a fit as it seems, I just don’t think it’s beneficial for Seattle to add Kaepernick to an already volatile locker room because his potential negatives outweigh the positives. If this were a black and white situation that was based solely on football, then I would be all for signing him immediately. Unfortunately, like the world we live in, there is this massive grey area where most things take place. EVERYTHING must be accounted for in this decision. I see on social media people making the mistake of over simplifying it with the “You telling me he’s not one of the best 64 quarterbacks in the world right now and doesn’t belong in the NFL” argument. It’s so much more than just his football talent and Pete Carroll already has enough to deal with that’s not football related. Adding another non-football distraction to his plate would be a mistake and could have severe on-field repercussions. It’s just not worth it no matter how perfect it seems.