BY Art Thiel 05:36PM 05/15/2017

Thiel: Kaepernick with Seahawks? Easy call

Should the Seahawks sign free agent QB Colin Kaepernick to back up Russell Wilson? That can be answered in three sentences: Oh. Hell. Yes. As if the Seahawks don’t have room for another outspoken guy.

Michael Bennett and Colin Kaepernick chat after a Seahawks-49ers game. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

Before the Saints game Oct. 30, Russell Wilson described his third injury of the Seahawks season, a right pectoral muscle strain, as not “crazy, crazy bad.” I looked up the phrase in a medical dictionary and it said, “A description of severity sufficient to put down a horse. Exceptions are for NFL quarterbacks, who often play with throwing limbs remaining affixed to the body by one tendon, or less.”

Well, maybe I read too much into it.

Wilson, as he did all of 2016, gamely carried on, completing 22 of 34 passes for 253 yards with an interception and a QB rating of 74.8. But the Seahawks lost, 25-20, in New Orleans to a team that became 3-4 and eventually 7-9. Of the Seahawks’ two touchdowns, one was a return of a fumble by FS Earl Thomas, and the other was a trick play, a wide-receiver pass from Tanner McEvoy to RB C.J. Prosise for 43 yards.

The loss came a week after the weird 6-6 tie with Arizona, in which Wilson hurt his pec. The back-to-back results to teams that finished with losing records represented the nadir of the regular season.

Even though he didn’t miss a game, Wilson’s injuries, even more than the retirement of RB Marshawn Lynch, had the biggest negative impact on the Seattle season.

That’s a long answer to this question: If the Seahawks want to win next season, should they hire Colin Kaepernick to back up Wilson?

The short answer is three sentences:

Oh.

Hell.

Yes.

The name of Kaepernick, a free agent who has been a Super Bowl quarterback as well as a national political lightning rod, came up Monday when si.com’s Peter King gave his 10 reasons why the Seahawks should hire the erstwhile 49ers star.

Later Monday night, a tweet from Mike Silver of the NFL Network said Seahawks general manager had been in touch with Kaepernick’s agent:

 

 

Fueling the story independently was Pete Carroll. In an interview Monday morning on ESPN 710 radio, the Seahawks coach answered a question about whether the Seahawks might look at Kaepernick or Robert Griffin III as veteran backups instead of second-year Trevone Boykin, who has trouble staying out of trouble, or the undrafted free agents in rookie camp.

“We’re looking at everybody. We really are,” he said. “We’ve been tracking everything that’s going on, and we’ve got cap and roster issues and stuff like that. We’re still trying to manage properly. But quite frankly, yes, we are looking at all those guys.”

The interview was backed up by news that one of the rookie QBs, Skyler Howard of West Virginia, was cut Monday, leaving the Seahawks with Wilson, Boykin and the redoubtable Jake Heaps, Mr. August, on the QB roster.

Few doubt the biggest hindrance to a more successful 2016 were the injuries to Wilson. The Seahawks showed in the second half of 2015 how well they adapted the offense to the absence of an injured Lynch. But the emphasis on a shorter, quicker passing game required a healthy Wilson.

In 2016, Wilson was hobbled in the opener against Miami with an ankle injury, followed by a knee injury and the pec strain. Evidence was strong that there was no Plan B for Boykin, unlike Thomas Rawls for Lynch.

Boykin was an undrafted free agent who had never taken a regular-season NFL snap. The Seahawks foolishly bet that Wilson, who had never missed a regular-season NFL snap, would remain healthy despite a line so deeply infant that it needed booster seats to see over the painted line of scrimmage.

Both Wilson and Carroll understood that turning over the offense to Boykin invited disaster. So a diminished Wilson muddled through. Wilson, his teammates and coaches deserve credit for reaching 10-5-1 and another playoff win (over a mediocre Detroit team), but they took too many risks with the franchise QB.

They were lucky.

Counting on another year of luck is like expecting President Trump to understand what a state secret means. Boykin wasn’t terrible in mop-up duty, but he can’t know NFL defenses like a veteran.

Most NFL fans know the Kaepernick story: His decision to sit and/or kneel during the national anthem in 2016, a protest about racial injustice and police brutality, inflamed many fans and inspired many others. It made him a national celebrity, but didn’t help his career.

He began 2016 as a backup to Blaine Gaebbert, but ended up starting 11 games and threw for 2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions, rushing for 468 yards, for a woebegone 2-14 team. At 29 and healthy, but under a new coach and general manager, he opted out of his San Francisco deal ahead of free agency, telling all that he would no longer protest before or during games.

The absence of takers so far has led to a strong belief among his supporters, including Sehaawks CB Richard Sherman, that he’s being blackballed for his political views and the potential for disruptions.

While blackballing is unprovable, the political stuff figures to be a non-issue in Seattle. Not only is Seattle nearly as far left politically as San Francisco, neither Carroll nor owner Paul Allen would be upset about a player taking a stand on social injustice. Carroll undoubtedly figures he and team leaders could help Kaepernick, who damaged his position with some reckless provocations that allowed critics to diminish his credibility.

The football questions are legit: Is he a fit in style, attitude and salary? The NFL minimum salary for a seventh-year player is $900,000, but after being a starter for so long and making $15.6 million last year, could he take the psychological blow of playing and making far less?

And does offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell think he can adapt? Kaepernick’s ability and willingness to run makes a good comparison for Wilson. But there’s plenty of Seahawks’ scouting video that lays out his weaknesses.

Having said all that . . . Boykin?

He was busted again this off-season, and regardless of the outcome of charges, he was again at the wrong place at the wrong time. He was already on a shorter leash after a pre-bowl-game altercation in San Antonio, his final game for Texas Christian, from which he was suspended.

If the Seahawks invite Kaepernick for a visit and he explains himself reasonably, especially about the bench-warmer role, the Seahawks would be wise to consider a signing. They escaped, barely, last season working without a net.

There’s not enough stomach lining left among the coaches to tolerate another missed block by a rookie lineman that finally would plunge the Seahawks into the abyss.


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YourThoughts

  • coug73

    Keapernick as a back up to Wilson is fine by me. The haircut is much to retro, but so am I.

    • art thiel

      If he braids his ‘fro, will you braid yours?

      • coug73

        My ‘fro is long gone but beard braids with beads are in style.

        • tor5

          You’re a true coug, my friend.

          • coug73

            Helmet will protect my head.
            Beard will protect itself.

  • Bruce McDermott

    Despite his obvious physical skills, Kap has demonstrated over the years that he just does not process information behind center well, pre-snap or post. He has not steadily improved with experience. So, for vet minimum? Maybe. Appreciably more than that? Oh. Hell. No.

    • art thiel

      A fair point that Kaepernick has a weakness, one that is keeping him from a starting job. But Boykin has more, and no other vet out there (RGIII isn’t healthy) has Kap’s experience. And he was smart enough to get a team to the SB.

      • 1coolguy

        Arguably that SF defense is what took them to the SB.

        • Steed

          Sounds like what people say about the Seahawks.

          • Ken S.

            As always truth has a particular ring to it. SF’s defense was damned good and did get them to the SB. Ditto for the Hawks.

        • wabubba67

          Is that what the GB defense said as Kaep ran by them?

  • wabubba67

    Has the perfect skill set to be Wilson’s backup…no need to alter the offense at all. Would be a great move!

    • art thiel

      Not sure about perfect, but there’s a resemblance in the legs.

    • 1coolguy

      He has not shown he has anything between the ears, as to identifying and defeating defenses. Move on Pete, Kap ain’t the answer.

  • Steed

    Will he sign for next to nothing, since he hasn’t got any offers? If not, how much do the Seahawks want to pay for a backup QB? Maybe he and Richard can be pals.

    Wilson needs to protect himself better even considering how bad the line has been. He is too willing to let the D get a huge hit on him instead of just giving up sometimes.

    • art thiel

      I suspect the salary will be barely above the minimu. The market has spoken.

      Wilson is the smartest QB I’ve seen when it comes to self-protection. That doesn’t mean he won’t get clobbered, especially when his bosses think Bradley Sowell and J’Marcus Webb were decent players.

      • Steed

        He is incredibly good at protecting himself, that is why I am blaming him for the big hits he takes, because he seems to take a hit on purpose sometimes as a trade off for a completion. He needs to save those heroics for the playoffs, not for a 2nd quarter 2nd and 7 in a regular season game. But of course he doesn’t like to give up on any play, that is one reason he is great.

        He was probably more hurt than we (fans) realized in 2016.

        • art thiel

          All you’re asking for from him is the impossible. This is a collision sport.

  • Tman

    We expect courage from our football players, boxers, all athletes competing.

    Why do we punish citizens, journalists and athletes with the courage to speak out against violence inflicted upon innocent people by America’s armed forces and police?

    What kind of country are we when peace, freedom, justice, and decency have become far left concepts?

    Government of, by, and for the people is Democracy.
    of, by and for corporations is Fascism
    add racism, you have Nazism.

    What have we become?

    Where was the courage of the fans when it came time to join arms in the stands in support of Seahawks players and coaches making a statement on the field?

    Do we, the 12’s, need to be courageous in our opposition to violence inflicted upon our nation and its citizens by un elected people seizing power?

    We Elect Democrats.We get non taxpaying corporate war minded republicans of the fascist, nazi persuasion. Now you explain that to me.

    What kind of nation have we become when we more closely resemble Rome and Nazi Germany than the United States of America?

    Thank you for your courage Mr. Kaepernick. Welcome to the Seattle Seahawks.

    As for Mr. Boykin..he is a great athlete. Give him a chance to play, too. How would you like to defend against 3 rested and ready quarterbacks like Russel Wilson, Treyvon Boykin and Colin Kaepernick?

    • Tman

      Boykins’ original difficulties occurred in San Antonio, Texas. Here’s the security cam video of Boykin being escorted from the bar by 7 people including 4 security guards.
      Boykin appears to swing at one, then another after being put in a chokehold.

      Does he appear intoxicated to you? =video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qp1iBmzT6ww&t=31s

      His second arrest, in Dallas, was for a driving incident in which he was not the driver. The third for violation of probation of the second.

      It would be an interesting read and video if someone from the press were to interview Mr Boykin to get his side of the story.

      • art thiel

        Boykin talked about his San Antonio arrest, which was reduced to a misdemeanor and no jail time, at training camp July 2016. He’s not spoken since the episode in Dallas.

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    • Lightninbug

      You must not have noticed that this is a sport’s blog to which sports minded people repair to read the latest in . . .surprise . . . sports !

      Your political diatribe does not belong here and is guaranteed to
      offend any number of readers. Why the owners of this blog allow it remains one of those mysteries for which there are probably no good answers,

      • Ken S.

        Thank you! I come here to read sports. Seems Art can’t keep himself from political comment. I like sports – and I like politics – but not at the same time. It’s Art’s website so he’s entitled to say whatever he wants – and it’s my option to read it – or not.

        As for Kaepernick – I hope the Hawks don’t sign him. They don’t need locker room distractions. And that’s what I believe he’ll end up being.

        • art thiel

          A fair-minded response, Ken. As I responded above, the two cultural institutions can’t be separated. There’s politics involved in every stadium issue, every international get-together.

          Rarely are we offered tidy little silos in which we can separate the dramas of our lives. Perhaps you can recall a holiday dinner or two where the conversations didn’t stay in their lanes.

        • LarryLurex70

          You’re ignorant of the fact that, rather than deem him a distraction last season, Kaepernick’s ‘Niners teammates actually voted him most inspirational. Like his protest, it’s a “distraction” only if you knowingly and willfully go off-message and attack him for YOUR incorrect interpretation of what he’s done and said.

      • Tian Biao

        oh come on, bug: sports is life. these are human beings. they have hearts and minds, ideas, commitments, passions; they also have a platform that some, like kaepernick, are willing to use. a lot of us are interested in these larger issues. there. that’s your answer.

        • Lightninbug

          What’s good for a few, sucks for thousands. Don’t ask me to prove that number. I’m extrapolating from the droves who are dropping politicized teams, myself included and I’ve been a Hawk fan since 1976.

          But you have every right to cheer on the politics if you that’s what pleases you. Imagine though, how many people get slapped by the opinions here when sports used to be the main thing, and because of that are now choosing to opt out.

          I’ve read Thiel’s work through his entire career enjoying his style immensely until recent times when he just couldn’t control himself any longer and started insulting half his readers. Perhaps more than half. I cannot fully express my disappointment in his egging on the direction this site has taken.

          • art thiel

            Light, as you’ve read above, I seek tolerance. You are welcome to share your thoughts as long as there’s no maliciousness, name-calling or insults. I prefer to keep this to sports, because I do understand that’s what some readers prefer. But I have no intention of attempting to sweep out the tide, only in maintaining respectful order.

            I appreciate that you are hanging in here. The Kap issue is polarizing, but since sports is about inclusion, I can’t agree on excluding people like Kap because of politics.

            I once wrote a column chastising baseball for bouncing Reds owner Marge Schott for her Nazi-sympathizer views. I felt people needed to know what she thought, and could respond accordingly without stripping the team from her.

          • Tian Biao

            I’m not really ‘cheering on’ the politics. I just see it as part of a larger whole. it didn’t really occur to me that exploring these issues might offend people, but now I know. thanks for pointing that out.

        • Stephen Pitell

          Plus if the NFL didn’t politicize a sporting event with the flag, players couldn’t use that as a symbol to protest against.

      • art thiel

        Politics and sports have been intertwined almost forever; and now, more than ever. Having covered nine Olympics, I’ve borne direct witness.

        Sports is, almost by definition, about inclusion. Look at all the home countries among the Mariners and Sounders. What the current administration seeks is exclusion. It’s an automatic flashpoint.

        I wish it weren’t so, but politics can’t be separated from sports. So the request is for all of us to practice tolerance.

        • Stephen Pitell

          Art, thank you for standing on the side of tolerance. I believe if there wasn’t an attack upon tolerance in the first place, sports need not be politicized. It’s hard for the other side to attack tolerance directly, and your use of that word rather than others is wise since “inclusion” would rile up the white supremacists who insist on the right to that opinion – which they most certainly have. We need education more than ever.

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  • disqus_aEA4p3zFXu

    Kap was inside the 10 yard line in the Super Bowl against Baltimore, and could have easily won. He almost beat us in the NFC Championship. He’s damn good, and his legs are a real threat. He’s shown a lot of growth and has revealed himself to be a thoughtful and articulate young man. Sign him!

    • art thiel

      Carroll presumably will quiz him hard about spirit, brain and body. It will be hard for Kap to sublimate to a backup role.

  • 1coolguy

    Kap is one, if not THEE, most physically talented QB’s in the NFL. The fact he cannot lead a team to wins is a clear indictment of his lack of game knowledge. He is not an answer, as he clearly doesn’t have much of the mental skills a winning NFL QB needs.
    The fact his career has declined since his very impressive first few years indicates defenses league-wide have figured him out, while he has not figured defenses out.
    Move on Pete, Kap ain’t the answer.

    • art thiel

      He led the 49ers under Harbaugh to the SB, and yes, he isn’t without flaws. What are you expecting if he gets paid barely above the minimum? He also was injured and played for one of the NFL’s worst orgs.

      • John M

        All true, Art. But it would look odd to see him in a Seahawk uniform, yet as an underpaid backup there is some poetry . . .

        • art thiel

          That was then, this is 2017.

    • John M

      Without disagreeing with your assessment, Kap’s been in about every difficult game situation there is – in the past he’s handled some of them well, but as the years unfold the mistakes have increased. Sherm’s great play to secure the NFC championship was not the game-changing play, it was a bit before that when Kap threw a short outside to a receiver – except Chancellor was standing directly in front of him and the Hawks scored 7. That changed the tempo of the game. Kap doesn’t express himself well regarding his protests, and in the second half of a tight game from season one on he makes unintelligible mistakes. He’s one of those physically talented guys whose fast analytical decisions – not to mention some odd mood swings – will always limit him on the field or in the locker room.

      • art thiel

        I believe the tape will show similar mistakes by Wilson and other accomplished QBs. Remember, he’s not competing for the starting job. Any backup playing for $1M is flawed.

    • tedsfrozenhead

      I have had those thoughts as well. He has got by on superior athleticism and less on mental acuity. But he is by no means mentally unable to do the job. I say sign him

      • art thiel

        His passer rating was 17th in the NFL last year.

    • wabubba67

      Lost a lot of weight/muscle and was injured….still much better than most QBs athletically, but not the beast he once was. What he is, is a better than average backup QB on a team desperate for an insurance policy should Wilson get injured. His skill set also fits this offense perfectly.

      • art thiel

        Read my latest post.

  • tor5

    I’m all in with you on this, Art. While I have some mixed feelings about Kaep’s kneeling last year, he clearly sacrificed a lot, showed a lot of guts, and he doesn’t deserve to be kept out of the NFL. And I’m betting he still has a great game, which would have been hard to see with last year’s niners team. (I’m pulling for Boykin too, but he’s gotta grow up quick.)

    • art thiel

      Generally, NFL coaches and owners are not wired to tolerate dissent regarding external matters. Carroll is different. But he also knows that if Kap’s political conversations make him a media magnet while not playing, some of his teammates will be annoyed.

  • tedsfrozenhead

    I think this would be an ideal situation for him to get his game back on track

  • DB

    Kap wants to be able to compete for a starting job and get paid around $10M+. That’s why he hasn’t signed, not because of kneeling. He won’t really get a chance at starting in Seattle. And, can you think of a team in the league where you would have a worse chance of getting on the field as the backup? Boykin played so little not because he wasn’t ready or capable but because nobody could pry Wilsons hands off the QB steering wheel. Kap has little interest in sitting behind Wilson for a measly 1 or 2 mil. He will wait for the inevitable injuries and will look for an opportunity to start.

    • Comrade C-attle

      I’m sure his salary was a factor but you’re quite naive to think the kneeling was not a significant factor. Just listen to those gutless GM’s who anonymously talked s—t about him when he made his stance in the preseason.

      • art thiel

        The protest will always linger in his legacy. The question for the Seahawks is can be provide quality insurance as a veteran backup in ’17 for around $1M.

    • art thiel

      No one has heard directly from Kap about your assertions. He may have wanted to start and get $10M, but things change. All he’s said publicly is he’s done kneeling during the anthem.

  • rosetta_stoned

    Sure. Why not?

    I mean, social justice warrioring doesn’t win more games, but it certainly satisfies the leftists in the region. And that’s really what’s important.

    The rest of us will find something else to do with our Sundays.
    Again.

    • Tian Biao

      i think you’re misreading this, stoned. They’re trying to find a backup that will win games if Wilson is out. and they’re trying to decide whether the distractions will outweigh the positives that Kaep brings as a player. and they’re trying to find out how much money Kaep wants: that’s probably the sticking point.

      • art thiel

        If I had to guess, I think Kap will wait until injuries happen to teams where he has a shot to start. And I think the Seahawks are also listening to the fan reaction on their social channels. The alienation some feel about Kap is sincere.

    • art thiel

      If I can welcome your input here, stoned, can we continue to agree to disagree?

  • Stephen Pitell

    Wow, 35 responses. I hope this reflects a growth in your readers, Art, and not just people interested in politics. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…..

    You expressed yourself well, again, but only one twisted metaphor got a laugh out of me, and one of them was rather strained…..I hope we’re not BOTH going senile.

    • art thiel

      Once politics enters the fray, the numbers go up, but a fair amount are my responses.

      And I’ll grease up gears on the metaphor pump.

      • Stephen Pitell

        Not sure if you are still reading this thread, but you may not remember it, but soon after you started this site I wrote to you and advised you take the approach of being more accessible here, and whether that was your plan all along or took my advise I am happy with its success for you.

        I didn’t advise you to get involved with politics like this, but I am pleased you have done your civic duty in these trying times rather than take the safe route and try to ignore politics or as some sites do – ban it and anyone who tries to talk about it. That works for FieldGulls, but I admire your position.

        Oh, another piece of advise….uh, is there a contribution button? I’d make a small (but proportionate to my wealth level a huge one), one time donation if I could use paypal (horrible company I know). Others might, too.

  • Gerald Turner

    You are leftist vermin good by.