Seahawks sign Austin Davis to compete for backup QB job
Jun 5, 2017, 10:36 AM | Updated: 6:00 pm
Reading between the lines on what Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said last week, the chances of Colin Kaepernick becoming Seattle’s backup quarterback sounded slim to none.
They seem even closer to none now that the Seahawks have instead signed Austin Davis, a move the team announced Monday. Seattle waived Skyline High School product Jake Heaps to make room on its 90-man offseason roster, which leaves Davis and Trevone Boykin as the two quarterbacks vying for the No. 2 job behind Russell Wilson.
Davis, 28, has been with three teams since entering the league as an undrafted free agent out of Southern Mississippi in 2012. He’s made 10 starts, one of which was a win over the Seahawks in 2014 when he was with the Rams. He completed 17 of 20 passes for 155 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a career-best 132.3 passer rating in that game (which is remembered less for the winning quarterback’s performance and more for how the Rams burned Seattle with a pair of trick plays on special teams).
Davis (listed at 6 feet 2, 221 pounds) made two starts in 2015 for Cleveland and spent part of last season on Denver’s bench. For his career, he has a 62.4 percent completion rate, 13 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and an 80.4 rating.
A photo gallery on the Seahawks’ website includes a picture of Davis taking part in the team’s Organized Team Activity practice on Monday.
His signing comes two weeks after he and Kaepernick came to Seattle for free-agent visits. After the Seahawks’ OTA practice on Friday, Carroll lauded Kaepernick as a player and a person – saying he has and will continue to be a “fantastic football player” and that he “presented himself really well” during his visit – but confirmed that the Seahawks had no plans to sign him.
Here was Pete Carroll on what he learned about Colin Kaepernick from their visit and how he feels about the Seahawks’ backup QB situation: pic.twitter.com/lMAJvj4mI7
— Brady Henderson (@BradyHenderson) June 3, 2017
Carroll said he didn’t know if Kaepernick’s decision to not stand for the national anthem last season in protest of racial inequality has hurt his ability to find a job. That has been a popular belief given how quarterbacks with less impressive resumes have found work while Kaepernick has remained unsigned, with only one team – Seattle – known to have shown any legitimate interest in him.
Carroll’s comments made it clear that Seattle would continue to look for backup quarterbacks to compete with Boykin, who held the job as an undrafted rookie last season. The Seahawks like his mobility and some of what they’ve seen from him, but the results were mixed in his handful of brief appearances in relief of Wilson. Additionally, he ran into more legal trouble this offseason when he was arrested in Dallas on misdemeanor charges of public intoxication and marijuana possession. That arrest may have violated terms of Boykin’s probation stemming from an arrest during his final year in college. A hearing for a motion to revoke Boykin’s probation is set for this week, according to Bexar County (Texas) online court records.
“We’re still trying to develop it and make sure we’re making the right decisions. We’ll continue to work at it,” Carroll said Friday about the team’s backup quarterback situation. “Trevone continues to need to be pushed. Jake is doing that right now, but that doesn’t mean that we’re done. We’re going to continue to look for ways to make it more competitive and put us in the best position where, if it counts, now you need that second guy in there, he can go in there and do some good stuff. He did an admirable job last year as a rook doing it. He’ll be better, he looks better, he’s much more in command of what we’re doing. It takes years and years to develop these guys, and he’s in Year 2, so I expect him to continue to get better. We know he can play for us. That’s what we do know.”
It’s easy to see why Carroll and the Seahawks’ wouldn’t be content with Boykin as their only backup candidate with any regular-season experience. Unclear, though, is why they decided on a journeyman in Davis over the much more accomplished Kaepernick, who’s started 64 games in his career including a Super Bowl, has the mobility that Seattle prefers in its quarterbacks and has publicly been supported by several prominent Seahawks.
“He’s a starter in this league, and we have a starter,” Carroll said of Kaepernick on Friday. “But he’s a starter in this league and I can’t imagine that somebody won’t give him a chance to play.”
That comment from Carroll could have been interpreted as a suggestion that money was a factor in Seattle not signing Kaepernick, i.e., that if Kaepernick is still a starting-caliber quarterback and views himself as such, then he may be asking for more money than what the Seahawks would want to a backup. Carroll declined to answer a question Friday about whether the team and Kaepernick discussed financial terms.
Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network reported that the two sides were apart on money. He clarified on Monday that Seattle never made Kaepernick a formal offer. Kaepernick, for what it’s worth, retweeted on Monday a story from Pro Football Talk refuting the notion that money was a hangup in a potential deal with Seattle. He also retweeted Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report, who denied that Kaepernick’s salary demands are the reason he remains unsigned.
Terms of Davis’ contract have not been revealed. The minimum 2017 salary for a player of his tenure is $775,000. Boykin is set to make $540,000 this season.