Inevitably, Colin Kaepernick will be suggested as a player for the Philadelphia Eagles to sign in the wake of the George Floyd protests and demonstrations.
The common thinking seems to be that the NFL would look good by having Kaepernick back in the league, a way to atone for what some believe is the blackballing of the quarterback following the kneeling demonstration that resulted in a very public debate spanning multiple years, one that even manifested itself locally in the Eric Reid vs. Malcolm Jenkins on-field dispute from 2018. It’s been a lengthy back-and-forth going on almost five years now, one reignited by the wave of protests that would suggest that Kaepernick was totally on point when put his own career on the backburner to highlight racial injustice and police brutality in America.
That said, the idea of Kaepernick to the Eagles doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, for these reasons:
- the Eagles have a starting quarterback in Carson Wentz
- they already created a pseudo-controversy by using a second-round draft pick on quarterback Jalen Hurts
- adding a third QB to that mix seems redundant
- Kaepernick probably isn’t going to a team that would use him as a “symbolic” signing and then plunk him on the bench
There are questions of whether Kaepernick even wants to play, raised by Stephen A Smith, and others, and perhaps there’s something to that. Kap doesn’t HAVE to play, since he has a strong partnership with Nike and can continue his work without actually being on an NFL team. But if he really does want to play, I don’t think he’d come here to sit behind Carson Wentz and then battle it out with a rookie for the backup job. And even if Kaepernick did win that #2 job, you’d find yourself in a situation where you used a second round draft pick on a guy who is now your #3 quarterback.
That’s the thing when it comes to the Kaepernick signing; it has to be genuine. It can’t just be, “well here’s an opportunity to show how progressive we are.” If you’re gonna bring him in, bring him in with a good faith, real opportunity to win a starting gig. You can’t just extend a token offer to win a few over some fans and call it a day. I’d think that going to a team where he can compete for a starting job would be the only legitimate way to proceed.
Plus, the Eagles had multiple chances to sign Kaepernick, but didn’t. They opted for 40-year-old Josh McCown when Nate Sudfeld broke his wrist. They brought in Nick Foles, whom they knew and liked from his previous tenure in Philadelphia. They drafted Clayton Thorson and tried Cody Kessler in the preseason. There were many opportunities to bring in a younger Kaepernick in situations that were more practical than the current Wentz/Hurts position we currently find ourselves in.
It’s also worth noting that Jeffrey Lurie, who is one of the league’s more progressive owners, said straight-up that he did not think Kaepernick was being blackballed, stating the following in September of 2017:
“The definition of blacklist is some discussion amongst people to not hire or not approve or something like that. I’ve never had a discussion with anybody [about Kaepernick],” Lurie said. “It doesn’t work that way. There’s no communication. We’re very competitive against each other, the 32 owners. I don’t reveal anything, they don’t reveal anything, and there’s no discussion that ever takes place about any player. In my 23 years in the league, I’ve never heard any discussion of a player like that. You keep it to yourself, you have your own strategy. That’s the way it works.”
That was part of the press conference in which Shaun King took some of the truncated quotes (via a Marcus Hayes column), told everybody to boycott the Eagles, and then the team addressed him directly on Twitter with the full transcript of what Lurie had to say.
More than anything, you have to ask yourself what each side would gain from a Kaepernick/Eagles marriage. The Eagles would get a solid, veteran, 32-year-old quarterback with Super Bowl experience, plus some positive national publicity, but they already have a #1 and #2 QB. Kaepernick would get back into the NFL but wouldn’t necessarily be guaranteed any playing time if Wentz and/or Hurts remain healthy.
Is that worth it for him? Is it worth it for the Eagles?
I just don’t think it makes a lot of sense for either side. It would come across a symbolic and somewhat peripheral gesture without a lot of true meat or substance.