RENTON — The Seattle Seahawks’ interest in Colin Kaepernick has apparently advanced beyond a mere idea.
The league-owned NFL Network reported Wednesday the free agent was in Seattle to visit the only team that has showed any interest in the polarizing passer since he and the San Francisco 49ers parted ways in January.
The report said Kaepernick, 29, flew into town Tuesday night from the East Coast. That’s where he’s been training this offseason, in New York. Training and waiting, while no other team has gone nearly this far towards signing the former Super Bowl QB. He has spent the last year protesting social injustice and kneeling for national anthems.
Meanwhile, USA Today reported the president of a non-profit in New York that gives parolees free business clothes and haircuts for job interviews led a rally Wednesday for Kaepernick near NFL headquarters in Manhattan. The gathering, reportedly of about 70 people at its peak, was to show “solidarity” for Kaepernick and draw attention to the fact he remains unsigned.
NFL Network also reported that Austin Davis visited the Seahawks Wednesday. The 27-year-old unsigned quarterback has been a backup with the Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns and St. Louis Rams.
If the Seahawks end up signing Kaepernick, it will be on their terms, not his.
Again, Seattle is the only one of the league’s 32 teams to publicly proclaim this offseason any interest in Kaepernick. So his desire to accept or reject whatever the Seahawks may offer him in the lower range of QB salaries — say, less than $4 million per year — may determine whether he signs here.
If he doesn’t accept their salary cap-friendly price, the Seahawks can keep shopping for backups that would fit their price.
Coach Pete Carroll said on Seattle’s KIRO radio last week his Seahawks are looking at Kaepernick, former Washington Redskins and Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III and every other available quarterback the team seeks competition with Trevone Boykin for the backup job behind Russell Wilson in 2017.
Boykin played more than expected last season for Seattle as an undrafted rookie. Issues on the still-iffy offensive line caused Wilson to get somewhat seriously injured for the first time in his career: a high-ankle sprain and sprained knee ligament in the first three games.
Boykin has spent this offseason in legal trouble in Texas. Court records from Bexar County, Texas, show Boykin has a motion-to-revoke-probation hearing June 6 there. That is the fifth of the Seahawks’ seven days of organized team activities on the field at team headquarters within the next couple weeks.
The rampant talk of Kaepernick possibly signing with Seattle, not to mention if it actually happens, fits Carroll’s preference to be seen as a leader and supporter of strong, outspoken individuals who win while going against the NFL’s norms.
There is much debate whether Kaepernick remains unemployed because he wants to be a starter or wants starter-like money no team wants to give him — or because teams are blackballing him out of the league. That latter belief, which prominent Seahawks such as Richard Sherman believe, says NFL teams are responding to his kneeling during national anthems before games last season. That was part of Kaepernick’s ongoing protest and desire to raise awareness of social injustice in our country.
The truth of why Kaepernick is still unsigned may lie somewhere in between those two views.
Yet it’s more than a tad curious that a quarterback four years and three months removed from starting and just missing winning a Super Bowl, who came a tipped pass by Sherman in the end zone in Seattle from starting a second Super Bowl for San Francisco, a man who threw 16 touchdown passes against just four interceptions for a horrid 49ers team last season, has not signed a contract to at least be a backup for anyone in 2017.
Especially while journeymen such as Mike Glennon get $16 million guaranteed from Chicago and even Kaepernick’s former backup, Blaine Gabbert, gets a job as a backup in Arizona.
The Seahawks are taking the next step to satisfy that — and their — curiosity.