Pete Carroll just did with a few comments on the radio more than the rest of the NFL has done for Colin Kaepernick all offseason.
The Seahawks coach who sees his team as a trailblazer going its own way “to do it better than it’s ever been done” was asked on the team’s flagship station KIRO AM Monday if Seattle would consider Kaepernick or Robert Griffin III, another unsigned, veteran, seemingly estranged quarterback.
“We’re looking at everybody really. We are. We really are,” Carroll told the “Brock and Salk” morning show. “We’ve been tracking everything that’s going on. We have cap and roster issues and stuff like that that we’re still trying to make sure that we manage properly. But quite frankly, yes, we are looking at all those guys.”
The Seahawks have a need for a veteran backup to Russell Wilson for 2017.
Trevone Boykin played more than expected last season as an undrafted rookie. Issues on the offensive line led to Wilson getting somewhat seriously injured for the first time in his career twice over the first three games.
Boykin has spent this offseason in legal trouble in Texas. Court records from Bexar County, Texas, show he has a motion-to-revoke-probation hearing June 6 there. That is the fifth of the Seahawks’ seven days of organized team activities on the field at team headquarters this offseason.
Carroll and general manager John Schneider have said they want to add a third QB to compete for the backup job. That backup having more experience than Boykin remains important, because the ability of Seattle’s offensive line to keep its quarterbacks from getting beat up remains the team’s biggest issue entering 2017.
This past weekend’s rookie minicamp had Jake Heaps, Seattle’s No. 3 QB last preseason, leading undrafted rookie free agents Skyler Howard and Michael Birdsong around the practice field. Those aren’t exactly prime, experienced options to be Wilson’s No. 2 this year.
The team released Howard on Monday.
Kaepernick has curiously remained a free agent reportedly without -- or maybe with -- so much as a sniff of known interest from other teams this offseason. The San Francisco 49ers gave up on their Super Bowl passer from four years ago in January, following their regime change to new GM John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan.
Kaepernick, 29, went 1-10 in 11 starts while completing 59 percent of his passes with 16 touchdowns and just four interceptions for a putrid 49ers team last season.
His former backup and temporary replacement on the 49ers, Blaine Gabbert, signed a low-dollar deal with Arizona last week. Meanwhile, Kaepernick remained out of work.
It’s curious, to say the least, that no one else in the league has deemed Kaepernick worthy of consideration as one of its top 64 quarterbacks -- that is, one of the top two QBs on any of the NFL’s 32 teams -- a year after he took a controversial stance against social injustice in our country by kneeling during national anthems immediately before games.
He has supporters in Seattle.
Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin says he has talked “extensively” with Kaepernick over where to go next for social justice in America.
Defensive back Jeremy Lane backed up Kaepernick last summer by sitting on Seattle’s bench in Oakland during the national anthem before the 2016 preseason finale.
And Kaepernick’s ongoing unemployment is more than curious to two of the most vocal and influential members of the Seahawks’ locker room.
Michael Bennett and Richard Sherman would, like Lane, seemingly welcome Kaepernick in Seattle.
In March, Bennett, the two-time Pro Bowl defensive end who has been increasingly active on social issues, told NFL Network he was surprised Kaepernick was unsigned and that “teams should be happy to have a leader like him.”
“Yeah, it does surprise me. Kap is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL,” Bennett said. “He’s also one of the most genuine people you could possibly meet. All the stuff that he’s doing off the field, the things that he’s doing in the communities, he’s just serving everybody. Teams should be happy to have a leader like that, a guy who’s dedicated to the people around him and he’s dedicated to making their life better. The only thing he could do is make the offense even better.”
Later that month, Sherman went on ESPN’s “First Take” morning show and, among other things, said Kaepernick is being blackballed by the NFL.
"I'm sure he is," Seattle’s three-time All-Pro cornerback said on ESPN in late March. "It's difficult to see because he's played at such a high level. And you see guys, quarterbacks, who have never played at a high level being signed by teams. So it's difficult to understand. Obviously he's going to be in a backup role at this point. But you see quarterbacks, there was a year Matt Schaub had a pretty rough year and got signed the next year. So it has nothing to do with football. You can see that. They signed guys who have had off years before.
"You don't have 32 starting-level quarterbacks in this league. You have about eight elites, and then you have the rest of the league. You have about eight, nine elite quarterbacks. You have two or three who have the potential to be elite. And then you have the rest of the teams. So he could play and start on a ton of teams in this league. He would be a starter on probably 20 of the teams in this league.”
No, Seattle and Carroll are not interested in Kaepernick -- or Griffin, deposed by Washington and now Cleveland in his five-year NFL career -- or any other quarterback to start. Wilson is the Seahawks’ $87.6 million franchise cornerstone in the prime of his career. And nothing may come of the coach’s comments Monday that the Seahawks are considering Kaepernick and every available QB in May. They should be doing that.
But Carroll merely cracking the door open and stating the Seahawks “are looking at” Kaepernick among all available quarterbacks sends yet another signal to the league’s players -- many of whom support Kaepernick and what he stands for -- that despite any prevailing winds in the NFL, Seattle is a player-friendly place to work.
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