Colin Kaepernick is the south end of a northbound moose. He’s a diva; self-absorbed and fame-obsessed to the point that he talked himself out of the sport. I don’t even know if he’s still in game shape. On top of that, he’s 31, hardly a prime comeback age for a guy who hasn’t taken a snap that mattered in 3 years. But being a jackass doesn’t disqualify you from being a productive player; if it did, Kareem Hunt wouldn’t be suiting up for the Cleveland Browns this fall. For those who think celebrity players like Kaepernick distract the team from winning, I have two words for you: Jim McMahon.
But let’s stipulate, for the purpose of this discussion, and since I’m watching Alliance of American Football games out of pure desperation, that Kap can still motor enough to keep his passer rating north of 85 – anything lower and the interception percentage is starting to threaten the offense. Now that his legal battle with the NFL is in the rearview mirror, here are 8 teams who should bring him in:
- The Arizona Cardinals. The Cards are 72 years and two cities removed from their last title. And the Josh Rosen experiment isn’t working. Homeboy is bad enough to blunt a superweapon like David Johnson. That’s for a team that many considered to be at least a contender for the NFC West crown. With Kap in the clubhouse, Rosen might just grow up – and quick.
- The New York Giants. It pains me to say it, but Eli Manning’s best days are behind. Hell, Eli Manning’s mediocre-est days are behind him. The truth is that Eli has never been the star his brother was. He benefited from a Tom Coughlin steamroller of a team, including a defensive line that still gives Tom Brady nightmares. Manning will collect a $5 million roster bonus in about 3 weeks. If the Giants are going to move on him, they better make up their mind, or take a $17 million salary cap hit. Kaepernick isn’t the savior Big Blue needs, but with Kyle “The Wheelman” Lauletta the only other driver on the Giants’ bus, he might be the one they deserve.
- The New England Patriots. Think about it: they don’t mind taking flyers on problem players; just ask Randy Moss and Josh Gordon. Tom Brady will turn 42 before the 2019 season kicks off. I’m not saying age will catch up with Brady this year – or ever, if Bill Belichick really is an evil wizard – but the cliff must be getting close. And imagine how fun it will be the first time Kap tries to “big-time” Tom Brady and Bill Belichick in their clubhouse.
- The Denver Broncos. John Elway is one of the top 5 greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. He is a lot farther down the list of greatest GMs, though. I don’t want to say Joe Flacco isn’t a future Hall of Famer, but I’m not convinced Elway’s management style isn’t based on ensuring he remains the Broncos’ most revered signal-caller. Since Elway retired, Denver has started Brian Griese, Gus Frerotte, Steve Beuerlein, Jake Plummer, Danny Kanell, Jarious Jackson, Jay Cutler, Kyle Orton, Chris Simms, Tim Tebow, Peyton Manning, Brock Osweiler, Paxton Lynch, Trevor Siemian, and Case Keenum. With the exception of Manning (and Tebow – kinda), none of lit up the Mile High City. Kaepernick might be another letdown, but at least he’ll be interesting.
- The Green Bay Packers. The Pack boasts a future Hall of Fame quarterback in Aaron Rodgers, one of greatest traditions in the NFL, and one of the two or three most knowledgeable fan bases in professional sports. Moreover, the fans literally own the team. These people do not suffer football fools lightly, making a potential marriage with Kaepernick a make-or-break gamble. But playing behind a legend like Rodgers might teach Kaepernick a thing or two. And some time holding a clipboard in the NFL’s version of Yankee Stadium might remind Colin how much better dressing for gametime on Sunday is than dressing for couch time.
- The Oakland Raiders. He’s a troubled, difficult, player who displays flashes of talent interspersed with poor decision-making. He associates with some seriously shady characters, and can’t be counted upon to put the team ahead of his own hubris. To be honest, I’m kinda surprised he’s not already in their clubhouse. It’s not like the Raiders are swimming in talent; they even have Nathan Peterman on their current expanded roster. Besides, they’re moving to Vegas. If Kaepernick stinks on ice, at least they won’t be bored.
- The Atlanta Falcons. While I don’t believe Matt Ryan left his best football in the 3rd quarter of SuperBowl LI – he had a great season in 2018 – his backup is Matt Schaub, again. Schaub left his best football in Houston 6 years ago. In a bumpin’ city like the ATL, Kaepernick’s antics won’t even be that interesting.
- The San Francisco 49ers. Why the hell not? It’s not as if they’ve been any good since Kaepernick decided wearing “pig” socks was more important than watching game film. Bonus: in San Francisco, wearing “pig” socks is considered a plus. The Niners drafted him. Serves them right if they end up with him.
The reality is that Kaepernick will probably never take another NFL snap. Given the pile of cash Nike handed him to piss off half the country, he’ll land softly. Now that he’s settled his “collusion” suit against the league, there’s a good chance his bridge back to the big time is ashes and dust by now. But, if someone wanted to take a flyer on the guy, these are the Great 8 I’d watch.