Let's Talk About Colin Kaepernick, Packers Fans
It’s been a hard afternoon to be a Packers fan.
Against their NFC North division rival Minnesota, Green Bay’s star quarterback Aaron Rodgers broke his right collarbone midway through the first quarter. Backup Brett Hundley stepped in, and the Packers dropped the game to the Vikings, 23-10.
So, where do we go from here?
Let’s talk about Colin Kaepernick
It’s been an awkward past year for the NFL and Colin Kaepernick. The former 49ers quarterback opted out of his contract in March (had he not done so, San Francisco was set to release him), and has remained unsigned since.
Just three weeks after he became a free agent, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman was asked if Kaepernick was being blackballed from the league. "I'm sure he is," Sherman said. "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.”
About seven months have passed since Sherman’s comments, and while the Seahawks and Ravens have explored Kaepernick, the quarterback remains a free agent.
CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported this past week that Kaepernick continues to pursue being a quarterback in the NFL, and has contacted teams in need of a quarterback. No team, La Canfora reported, has entertained a meeting with him besides the Seahawks.
Hours before Rodgers’ collarbone was broken, Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman reported Kaepernick hired attorney Mark Geragos and filed a lawsuit alleging collusion by the NFL’s owners to keep him out of the league.
Why the Packers could be in the market
While Rodgers isn’t the first starting NFL quarterback this season to be injured, he is unequivocally the best and has the best surrounding cast.
This past offseason, we spent time discussing how important home field advantage is for the Packers. ESPN’s study this offseason found Green Bay has having the second-best home field advantage behind only the Seattle Seahawks.
Now, here’s a quick look at Green Bay’s next six games:
- Week 7 (Home): New Orleans Saints
- Week 8: Bye week
- Week 9 (Home): Detroit Lions
- Week 10 (Away): Chicago Bears
- Week 11 (Home): Baltimore Ravens
- Week 12 (Away): Pittsburgh Steelers
- Week 13 (Home): Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Four of the six games will be at Lambeau Field, where the Packers have won 22 of their last 27. Rodgers’ injury only increases the importance of home field advantage, especially if he were to return later this season.
The Packers’ salary cap situation is in good shape, unsurprisingly. With over $12 million, general manager Ted Thompson has positioned Green Bay to have the flexibility to sign a quarterback like Kaepernick to a one year deal.
If Kaepernick is signed, it’s unlikely he’d be ready to play against the Saints, but a fortuitous bye week in Week 8 may give Mike McCarthy and the offensive staff enough time to prepare before an important home game against the 3-3 Lions.
So, will the Packers sign Colin Kaepernick?
On the surface, the Packers may be the NFL’s most conservative franchise at the moment. Two years ago, Journal Sentinel beat writer Bob McGinn had some harsh words for the “win at all costs” mentality he perceived the Packers organization to embody.
“The majority of fans think the Packers can do no wrong, or at the very least deserve the benefit of every doubt,” McGinn wrote. “The team's decision-makers are well aware of this, and thus are able to make whatever moves they want confident they will be supported in the court of public opinion and by the largely benign media corps in Wisconsin.”
A character issue – think tight end Colt Lyerla – is a whole lot different than Kaepernick, though. That said, the Packers had no issues bringing in tight end Martellus Bennett, who is unquestionably one of the most outspoken players in the league.
Would the Packers organization be ready for the intense scrutiny that would follow his signing? Is the hard-throwing, scrambling Kaepernick a good fit for Mike McCarthy's west coast offense?
One question that would have certainly been the largest in recent years, however, has been answered resoundingly this season: would the Packers consider signing free agents? Green Bay knows their time to win is now, and no position is more important to win in the NFL than quarterback.
The Packers, Kaepernick’s hometown team, is built to win now and is looking for a short-term quarterback to carry their team.