By Gregg Bell
The News Tribune
The Seattle Seahawks cut Trevone Boykin on Tuesday about an hour after news broke of their third-string quarterback’s latest legal issue, a detailed domestic-violence accusation from his girlfriend in Texas.
That left the Seahawks without a backup quarterback.
Austin Davis is still listed on the team’s official rosters and website, but Seattle let the six-year veteran’s contract expire with the end of the 2017 season. He is an unsigned free agent.
So the Seahawks are in the market for someone to back up Russell Wilson.
Why not Colin Kaepernick?
The fit is obvious. As obvious as the reasons the former Super Bowl quarterback remains unemployed by the NFL for going on two years now.
Seattle remains the only NFL team in the past 14 months to give Kaepernick so much as a free-agent visit. That was last spring, amid the national controversy over the league blackballing him for his protesting racial and social-justice issues by sitting then kneeling during the national anthem at games in 2016.
In January 2017, Kaepernick opted out of his contract. San Francisco general manager John Lynch later said the 49ers were going to cut him if he hadn’t.
Seattle’s signing last year of Davis, who had started for the Browns and Rams and once beat the Seahawks as a Ram, showed how much Seattle coach Pete Carroll values an experienced, former NFL starter as the understudy to Wilson. That is after risking it with only the then-rookie Boykin as Wilson’s lone backup in 2016. It turned out to be the only time in Wilson’s six-year career he’s missed any game time because of injury, and Boykin having to come into games scared the Seahawks into getting a more experienced Plan B at QB.
The fact that was true this time last year remains true today: No quarterback available has more experience — big-game, winning, NFL experience — than Kaepernick. And through all he’s done, caused and been talked about, he just turned 30 in November.
We could create a graduate-level college course discussing the merits of signing Kaepernick. How he’s been kept out of the league. The ridiculousness of quarterbacks such as Mike Glennon getting a $45 million contract from the Chicago Bears last year—then getting cut this month.
Or this: Journeyman backup QB Chase Daniel this month got a two-year contract from those same Bears worth $10 million, with $7 million guaranteed. Daniel has two starts in eight NFL seasons. TWO.
Kaepernick is younger than Daniel. He has started a Super Bowl. Yet he heads into a second consecutive year with zero offers, let alone a contract.
No offense to Daniel, who by all accounts is a great guy and a team player. The point is, you could insert the name of many — if not all — of the NFL’s current backup quarterbacks and that guy would not be as qualified as Kaepernick is for a No. 2 job in this league.
Take Brandon Weeden. The Houston Texans just did. They signed him Tuesday. The 34-year-old QB has been dropped by two teams in the past seven months. That includes the team that just signed him. The Texans cut him in September.
No, Kaepernick isn’t playing because teams either a) don’t want the perceived “distraction” or fan backlash his social activism would bring, b) they don’t want him challenging their starter already in place, not just on the field but in attention, including during the most ballyhooed, regular press meetings with a backup, ever, c) he refuses to consider any opportunity other than to be a starter again or d) because the league’s teams and owners believe Kaepernick should be punished for his activism and what it spawned, detracting from their product and, more to the point, their money making.
If Pete Carroll is asked about Kaepernick potentially backing up Wilson, the Seahawks head coach is likely to reiterate his unique reason for why the Seahawks didn’t sign him after they hosted him last May. Call it reason e), as in, extremely difficult to envision.
Carroll said the Seahawks didn’t sign Kaepernick last year essentially because he was too good.
“He’s a starter in this league, you know. And we have a starter,” Carroll said June 2. “But he’s a starter in this league, and I can’t imagine somebody won’t give him a chance to play.”
Another chance just opened up.