With news that the New York Jets are among multiple teams who will be sending representatives to Colin Kaepernick’s workout, here is why the Jets should seriously consider signing him.
Say this for the NFL — it’s never boring. This week, the league announced that it will be holding a workout for former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
This workout has quickly become as controversial as Kaepernick himself.
Due to the bizarre and sudden timing of this workout, some fans suspect that its nothing more than an insincere PR stunt by the NFL. Other fans who opposed Kaepernick’s controversial protest do not want him to even have a chance at returning to the NFL.
In the midst of all the noise and chaos, however, it would appear that at least some NFL teams are interested in seeing what Kaepernick can still do on a football field.
NFL said 11 teams — Arizona, Atlanta, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Miami, New England, NY Giants, NY Jets, Tampa Bay, Washington — already have committed to attend the Saturday workout that the league scheduled for Colin Kaepernick, “and it’s only Thursday”, per the league.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 14, 2019
ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that at least 11 teams, including the New York Jets, are planning to send representatives to Kaepernick’s tryout.
Why would the Jets even consider signing Kaepernick? At first glance, there’s a litany of reasons why they should steer clear.
After all, Sam Darnold is the Jets’ starter. Whether he struggles or plays well down the stretch, the organization is fully committed to giving him playing time and to letting him develop.
And there are plenty of concerns about Kaepernick. He hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2016, and of course, he is a controversial figure who would bring a great deal of media attention to any team that signs him.
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All that said, if Kaepernick plays at least reasonably well in his workout, the Jets should make him a contract offer.
While Darnold is the unquestioned starter, the Jets lack a competent backup quarterback. Their current backup is David Fales, who was not even on the roster to open the season and who has only attempted 48 passes since being drafted in 2014.
Kaepernick would almost certainly be an upgrade over Fales. Kaepernick was a proficient dual-threat quarterback, throwing for 72 TD/30 INT while also rushing for 2,300 yards and 13 touchdowns over a six-year career.
Kaepernick’s mobile playstyle would also fit in well with the Jets, as his ability to run would help compensate for the team’s atrocious offensive line.
Even if Darnold stays healthy the rest of the season (fingers crossed) and the Jets never need to use a backup quarterback, the organization would still benefit from bringing in more talent.
Good players are assets, and a shrewd front office never turns down the opportunity to acquire something for nothing.
A prime example from recent memory was the Jets’ decision to take a chance on Teddy Bridgewater last year. Even though the Jets opted to make Darnold the starter, the team was able to trade Bridgewater for a draft pick.
Who is to say the same thing couldn’t happen with Kaepernick?
It is impossible for an organization to have too much talent. This is especially true for the Jets, who have gaping roster holes at almost every position.
As far as the specific concerns about Kaepernick, they are understandable but also overblown.
For those who are worried about rust, keep in mind that Kaepernick has reportedly stayed in football shape. And there is precedent for NFL players taking an extended break from the game and still being effective upon their return (i.e. Le’Veon Bell, Jason Witten).
Besides, Fales has not thrown a pass in an NFL game since 2017. If the Jets are forced to have a “rusty” backup, Kaepernick is a better option than Fales.
Of course, there are many objections to signing Kaepernick that extend far beyond what makes sense from a football perspective. Some Jets fans personally object to Kaepernick’s method of protest, and others fear that signing him would start a media circus.
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The media in New York is always going to be a circus. From the Jamal Adams’ trade talk to Darnold’s ghosts to calls that Adam Gase should be fired, the Jets have been under intense media scrutiny for the entire season.
Even adding Kaepernick wouldn’t make the newspaper headlines any more sensationalist or absurd than they already are in New York.
On an individual level, I cannot convince any fan to like Kaepernick. What I can argue is that adding Kaepernick would make the Jets a better football team.
And considering that fans routinely forgive and forget when their favorite players commit a litany of crimes (i.e. DUI’s, domestic violence, sexual assault), it does seem odd that those same fans would draw the line at peaceful acts of protest.
The bottom line is the Jets are smart to attend Kaepernick’s workout this week. And if he plays well, they should do everything in their power to sign him.