Clayton: Biggest question for Colin Kaepernick, Seahawks will be money
Seahawks general manager John Schneider made the call to Colin Kaepernick on Friday. How Kaepernick returns the interest will determine whether he will be Russell Wilson’s backup this season.
Sure, the Seahawks would expect some fan backlash for Kaepernick not standing during the national anthem last season for political and social reasons. They figure they could get through that in time. From the standpoint of the Seahawks’ locker room, Kaepernick would get strong support. The veteran players respect how he made with his political stand, as Michael Bennett said on the show Tuesday.
The biggest question is going to be money. As we’ve seen with Marshawn Lynch, Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles, a veteran player who had been making big money during his career but has had a silent phone through the free agency period probably has to make a financial sacrifice to get something done. Last week, Kaepernick’s girlfriend admitted that teams hadn’t been calling until the Seahawks checked in.
Like it has been for running backs, the market for backup quarterbacks is bad. Lynch had to take under $3 million to play for the Raiders this year. Adrian Peterson signed a two-year, $7 million deal with New Orleans after the Vikings released him from a contract that was averaging $14 million a year. Charles signed for $1 million with Denver.
Kaepernick might have to accept something less than that. It’s not out of the question that the Seahawks might only offer him $1 million or lower. The market for backups is $1.5 million or less, and Blaine Gabbert, who started ahead of him at the beginning of the 2016 season in San Francisco, signed with Arizona for the NFL minimum.
During his career, Kaepernick has made $43.479 million. He was making $19 million a year in San Francisco. Bennett said it shouldn’t be about the money, though, as he’s seen players accept a one-year deal and come out the next year with big money.
Bennett added that Kaepernick would easily fit into Seattle’s locker room, saying the team has so many players that take political stands and are willing to speak out on causes. Bennett and his teammates appreciate Kaepernick’s courage for his stand.
From the football standpoint, getting Kaepernick at a low price would be an absolute steal. Sports Illustrated rated Seattle’s Trevone Boykin as the 30th best backup last year, and this year SI has him at No. 21. Kaepernick was rated No. 6 last year, when he was coming off three surgeries and his weight was down to 220 pounds.
With hard work, Kaepernick’s weight is now up to 230 pounds, and he would immediately be considered one of the top five backups in the league. If anything happened to Russell Wilson, Kaepernick could come off the bench and be good enough to start.
No question, he’s a scheme fit, too. The Seahawks are planning to go back to a power running offense, and Kaepernick is a great runner. He has 375 career rushes with a 6.1 yard average and 13 rushing touchdowns. Though he can be off with his passing mechanics, he takes care of the ball. In 69 career games, Kaepernick has only 30 interceptions, and he’s never had more than 10 in any season. Pete Carroll appreciates that.
Kaepernick would be an insurance policy in case the offensive line doesn’t improve. The Seahawks just have to see if the price is right.
Want more John Clayton? Listen on-demand to his weekday and Saturday shows as well as his “Cold Hard Facts” and “Clayton’s Morning Drive” segments on 710 ESPN Seattle. Also, check out his all-new “Schooled” podcast and look for his columns twice a week on 710Sports.com.