MIKE SALK

Salk: 6 reasons Seahawks should give QB Colin Kaepernick a look

Mar 24, 2022, 7:44 AM | Updated: 8:14 am
Seahawks Colin Kaepernick...
Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers drops back to pass as Cliff Avril of the Seattle Seahawks applies pressure. (Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
(Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

The Seahawks don’t have an elite quarterback on their roster. Colin Kaepernick used to fit that description. He believes he can fit that description again, so much so that he has been working out with NFL players with the hopes of returning to the league. And for whatever reason, he seems to be focusing those efforts on Seattle.

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Twice in the last week he has worked out with receivers from the Seahawks roster. First, Tyler Lockett agreed on Twitter to run routes for him. Then it was a private workout at the University of Washington with former Husky and current Seahawk Aaron Fuller as a receiving target.

If Kaepernick truly wants to play again in the NFL, this is the hardest he’s pushed for it in years. He likely sees the opportunity with the only coach who has supported him publicly finally divorced from his long-term quarterback relationship.

Remember, in 2017 Pete Carroll worked him out and said at the time that Kaepernick was “a starter in this league,” but that the Seahawks “have a starter” in Russell Wilson. That last part – about having a starter – isn’t true anymore. But is the first? Is Kaepernick still a starter in this league?

The Seahawks should find out. They should work out Kaepernick. They should give him a fair shot.

And if he’s good enough, they should sign him.

Here’s why:

1. The Seahawks don’t have a franchise QB.

I understand why Pete didn’t want to mess with success in 2017. He had one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL and to bring in Kaepernick as a backup would have created needless noise.

Put simply, they didn’t need him. But that is definitively not true anymore.

Drew Lock is a question mark at best. Geno Smith was uninspiring and unimpressive in his three starts, plus he has the shadow of his DUI arrest hanging over him for next season. And while other options exist for 2022 – most notably Baker Mayfield – they have yet to pull the trigger on anyone that would require a real commitment. Unlike in 2017, the Seahawks have room for a quarterback who could compete for the starting job.

2. It fits with competing every day.

If the Seahawks truly want to get back to their stated mantra of competition, this would provide it at the most important position on the field.

While Pete’s early years were a monument to his philosophy, that necessarily waned as Russell Wilson became a stalwart. No one was going to unseat him and they didn’t really bring in anyone to challenge. It made sense.

But to compete every day and in every way, they must find out if an available option who led his team to a Super Bowl appearance and has always displayed some of the qualities they seek at the position is capable of winning the job. That proves that they will look under every rock. That proves the philosophy is real and not just a convenient slogan.

3. It fits with Pete’s early Seahawks days.

It is also exactly the kind of thing Pete did often in his early days with the Seahawks. Remember Terrell Owens? Braylon Edwards? Pete tried to give both a chance to prove they still had something left in the tank. Seattle seems like the perfect laboratory to test the same hypothesis on Kaepernick.

And it’s not like we haven’t seen talented players take some time off and return with success. Heck, the Rams just won the Super Bowl with a free safety who hadn’t donned a uniform in more than two years. At least Kaepernick would have an offseason and preseason to prepare. Eric Weddle just walked off the street and into the playoff huddle.

4. With Watson and Hill getting paid this week, the idea of punishing someone for words and gestures seems ridiculous.

Well, we had to get here eventually. I don’t want to litigate whether Kaepernick’s protests were appropriate. I truly understand some of the arguments on both sides. But regardless of how you feel about it, you have to agree that he hasn’t physically hurt anyone. He hasn’t broken any laws. He certainly didn’t bully, sexually assault or punch women.

In the last week, Deshaun Watson was traded for three first-round picks and was given a fully-guaranteed megadeal. The Browns even structured it to help him avoid losing too much money in the suspension that everyone feels is inevitable. Watson is accused of sexually assaulting more than 20 women and if you think the case has proved his innocence, well, I strongly disagree.

Tyreek Hill got the next big trade and megadeal. This despite a well-documented history of domestic violence and abuse of both women and children.

You are free to disagree with Kaepernick. You can disagree with his cause and his methods. But should non-violent protest have more dire consequences than physical violence? Can the league justify this hypocrisy?

No, Kaepernick hasn’t been officially suspended or banned from the league. But the collective refusal to offer him a chance while retread failures get rewarded with contract after contract doesn’t seem like a coincidence to me.

5. It could potentially improve the Hawks’ reputation among players in the league.

There was a time in the not-too-distant past where Seattle was the cool spot for NFL players.

Pete Carroll was the new-age coach allowing them the freedom to be themselves. He was the breath of fresh air contrasted perfectly to the old guard of stale, stagnant yellers and screamers. He offered a sanctuary of positivity against the negative storm. Seattle was a destination.

But that has changed. The league has caught up. Most coaches are more like Pete than his generational peers. Positive options abound. And, true or not, the reputation of a stale offensive system and an organization that mishandled Bobby Wagner’s departure can quickly become prevalent in player circles. In the past few weeks, we have heard rumors that players have not wanted to play here or ultimately chose to sign elsewhere.

What better way to shake up that narrative than to do some legitimate research on Kaepernick?

According to Pete, “he was right on it. He was right on the topics about police brutality and inequality, and he was right on the subject matter at the time. That’s so obvious now.”

If he believes those words, which I would imagine a large percentage of players believe, why not show it with action? Why not prove it?

6. What’s the downside?

If Kaepernick isn’t good anymore, so be it. If he just isn’t accurate enough, fine. If his skills have slipped so severely during the last few years that he just couldn’t handle an NFL offense, I get it.

But we have watched some truly horrible quarterbacks not just try out for NFL teams or take preseason reps, but start and play in actual games. There are only so many people who can play that position at that high of a level and, for a time, he was one of them. A tryout seems like the least they could do. And some training camp reps don’t seem out of line either.

“I just wish it would happen,” said Carroll last week. “And I wish we would have been a part of it when the time was available then.”

Now he has the opportunity to make that happen.

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Salk: 6 reasons Seahawks should give QB Colin Kaepernick a look