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Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Someone Should Sign Colin Kaepernick

Several years back I flipped back and forth among the channels offering college football games.  That's what a surplus does to you -- you have to choose.  When I was a kid, there was one or perhaps two games on one of the three major networks.  You cannot have the majesty of a Keith Jackson providing commentary today; there are just too many choices to distract you from the marquis name doing the marquis game. 

I happened upon the University of Nevada, with its crazy read option offense and a big quarterback who could run like a deer and throw the ball like a cannon.  My first reaction is that he must be really flawed if he wasn't in a top conference, or that his competition wasn't that good or that he was having a career game.  I didn't think much about it, until I flipped channels a few weeks later and came upon one of the most obscure ESPN channels -- and saw him do it again.

That quarterback turned out to be Colin Kaepernick, good enough to help lead his team to a Super Bowl and controversial enough to have get along issues in a dysfunctional situation in San Francisco and then draw attention much more for his political stands than the quality of his play on the field.  Perhaps the latter offered evidence that he had peaked, that his game isn't suited to the NFL, that his skills had waned or that he just wasn't that good.  Or, perhaps, he was in the wrong system and needed a fresh start.  Whatever the case, he is without a job.

The simplest solution as to why is because the NFL is really conservative.  If it were legal to breed football players or to clone them in a laboratory so that you'd have the Stepford Wives of football players, each and every NFL team would do it.  Some teams held it against the number one pick in this year's draft -- Myles Garrett -- because he has other interest.  I spoke with the mother of an NFL prospect this weekend -- her kid has drawn attention mostly for immature off-the-field antics that eclipse some of the kind and humanitarian acts he has done.  She offered that her son was an immature kid a few years ago, but that some in the league have stained her son's reputation and won't let him dig out of it.  I countered by saying that his talent and results are undeniable, and that in the end someone will break ranks and sign him.  She agreed -- but it is unclear as to how high the draft spot will be and what the money will be.  Prospects fall -- sometimes because of self-inflicted wounds and other times because of a nasty, subterranean rumor mill.  At the end of the day, though, listen to the mom -- the league is conservative.

Which is why Colin Kaepernick remains unsigned after the Seahawks, no strangers to controversial, outspoken players (among them Richard Sherman and Doug Baldwin) and they signed Austin Davis.  Booger McFarland had a good point on ESPN 2 this morning on the "Mike and Mike Show" -- most of the back-up quarterbacks in the league are scrubs.  The Austin Davises of the world don't scare anyone and will get exposed after time -- whereas Kaepernick should scare people if handled correctly and in the right system.  McFarland then went on to list the back-up quarterbacks in the league and the guys who have gotten second, third and fourth chances -- among them Nick Foles, Matt Barkley, Geno Smith (he didn't mention Mark Sanchez, but should have) -- and Kaepernick is better than every one of them.

What is going on with Kaepernick is silly.  Some team should have him in camp.  If not, some team will sign him to help save their season a few weeks into it.  And then the conservative lords who control the NFL will have forgotten.

Or at least most of them will have forgotten most of it.

Silly logic from the lords of the league, who continuously make erroneous draft picks despite the availability of predictive analytics that could aid greatly in smarter choices.  The decision to not sign Kaepernick must have been made in a room full of abacuses, slide rules and unfiltered cigarettes. 

Hard to believe.


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