Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is rumored to be a target for the Seahawks to backup Russell Wilson. As Kaepernick managed to anger a whole host of loud idiots last year by speaking out against police brutality and donating money to charity, the question of whether or not the Seahawks should sign Kaepernick has gotten more play than a typical backup QB. So the question is—should they?
Uh… yeah. Colin Kaepernick makes sense on the Seahawks roster.
After a couple of great seasons under Jim Harbaugh in San Francisco, Colin Kaepernick has been pretty bad by starting standards. But this is in part due to massive coaching changes and a massive talent drain. Also, we’re not signing him to be the Seahawks QB1. If he were playing as well as he did his first couple years under Harbaugh that wouldn’t even be an option. His level of production has been fine for a backup.
It’s how Kaepernick produces that makes the most sense for Seattle. He’s a dual threat who can buy time to make plays behind a bad line or make quick throws on single read plays. That’s how the Seahawks offense will be forced to operate until something clicks up front. Kaepernick does lack Wilson’s accuracy and ability to work through his progressions. That’s why he shouldn’t be the Seahawks’ starter. But as a backup? Again, sign me up.
Also, he fits the team and Carroll’s backup QB philosophy writ large. While last year the team went cheap on the backup QB spot, before that, they had veteran Tavaris Jackson backing up Wilson. That was a luxury that was easier to stomach before Wilson’s contract extension kicked in, but looking even further back, the Seahawks brought in competitive options when Matt Hasselbeck’s career was waning. And during Carroll’s time at USC, there were always multiple excellent QB options on the roster. Now again, those teams did not have the present day Seahawks’ salary cap situation, but it’s not crazy to think of Carroll grabbing better talent than an undrafted rookie to backup Wilson.
And this is not just injury insurance. Last season, in a game against the 49ers, the Seahawks randomly and terrifyingly benched Wilson in a game with playoff seeding implications. They did so without a backup reliable enough to make that decision make sense. With Kaepernick on the roster? Suddenly you can spell your QB down the stretch before everything is cinched up if need be.
Also! And I’m going to put this in all-caps because it matters… IT IS INJURY INSURANCE! Russell Wilson got hurt badly last year on two separate occasions. He managed to play through both injuries because he’s some sort of tiny robo-wizard, but he had two injuries that should have cost him 3-4 starts. And it’s not as if the team dumped a ton of resources into the offensive line this offseason. Their big acquisition to protect Wilson is draft bust Luke Joeckel, who is coming off a catastrophic knee injury himself. Also, over the course of the last two seasons, despite the fact that he ran the ball less, Wilson's miraculous ability to elude contact early in his career disappeared. And the dude is not getting younger. Insurance is needed, and Kaepernick would provide it.
So there are hundreds of words about how clear the fit is from an on-the-field perspective. From an off-the-field perspective? The fit is there, too.
The Seahawks have managed to combine outspoken personalities and winning football at an unparalleled level in the NFL. Michael Bennett and Richard Sherman publicly debated the tactics of Black Lives Matters, Jeremy Lane took a knee for the anthem, and Doug Baldwin has advocated in Olympia for stricter oversight on matters of police brutality. Even tiny a political robot Russell Wilson managed to publicly come out in favor of Hillary Clinton after the election. And none of this has gotten in the way of the team winning at least one playoff game for a staggering five straight years. Kaepernick, whose political stances stick out on most NFL rosters, would be one of many voices on the Seahawks.
So this all makes sense. The last question is money. Kaepernick has been making starting QB money for the past few years in San Francisco, and while he represents an upgrade over the Seahawks backup options, he shouldn’t command nearly that coming off a few down seasons. The question is whether he’ll demand top of the market backup money, which the Seahawks will struggle to fit given their cap situation, or if he’s willing to sign a smaller contract laden with incentives if he’s pressed into action.
All of which is to say, maybe this won’t work. But if it can it work? It should happen—chorus of vocal idiots be damned.