What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
When I saw this latest turd from the World Wide Bottom Feeder, I couldn’t help but to think “Holy Shit…we’re doing this AGAIN?” I honestly thought after that circus of a workout the NFL held last fall for Colin Kaepernick, I thought the sewage back-up that is this story was finally cleared. Seems I got that wrong…but here’s what I’m not wrong about.
DISCLAIMER: I’m not going anywhere near the politics on this, largely because a) if you are regular reader of this blog, you already know I’m the founding member of the “Anti-Bullshit” movement, and every political discussion today rapidly devolves into an exercise in crap-spewing from either side, b) the polarizing nature of such arguments completely destroys the ability to objectively examine facts, and c) we’ve managed to kill civil debate in this country, which means I’m not in a hurry to get called names because I don’t necessarily subscribe to your brand of bullshit.
That means this examination will be all about football, and any comments which try to shift this discussion to the political arena will never see the light of day. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
Having said that, here’s two things that are undeniable.
1) Pete Carroll is full of shit.
I first debunked the idea that Colin Kaepernick was still an NFL quarterback three years ago. I did that by examining a piece published on Deadspin which was mostly political bluster. Again, I’m eschewing the political angle here, but that piece contained a calling out of Pete Carroll’s bullshit then.
Now, when Pete Carroll was asked about Kaepernick, he did his characteristic gushing, because that’s what Pete Carroll does. Pete Carroll acts like a human Labrador in public and like Frank Underwood when the cameras go off. So of course he declared that Kaepernick was good enough to be a starting quarterback, causing a great deal of confusion among pundits who openly wondered why a team wouldn’t want an extra starting-caliber quarterback on its roster. But it’s clear to me that Carroll was either lying (i.e. he doesn’t really think Kap is a starting-caliber quarterback), or committed the sin of omission (i.e. he thinks Kap is talented but not worth the fuss, and he hopes some other team decides to make him their problem).
Forgetting about the “fuss” part if for no other reason talent trumps it. For example, Drew Brees pissed off a whole bunch of people with his comments a couple of weeks back; you will notice the Saints didn’t release him. I’ll come back to that in a bit…right now this is about Carroll. Consider what Carroll said three years ago against what he said this past week.
“I regret that we weren’t the one way back when that just did it just to do it, even though I thought that it wasn’t the right fit necessarily for us at the time,” Carroll said. “The reason it wasn’t the right fit is because I held him in such a high regard I didn’t see him as a backup quarterback and I didn’t want to put him in that situation with Russ. It just didn’t feel like it would fit right. That’s the way I felt about it. So I just wish it would happen, and I wish we would have been a part of it when the time was available then. We’re kind of set up right now, so football-wise, it doesn’t seem to fit us like I said. But there’s a lot of time here. We’ll see what happens.”
You could fertilize Mars with that much bullshit. At least he’s consistent with the bilge about thinking Kaepernick was still a starting quarterback. He’s also not wrong about “being set up football-wise;” you’t can’t have two starting quarterbacks, and even the most pro-Kaepernick guy can say there was ever a time he was anywhere near what potential Hall-of-Famer Russell Wilson is. Not to mention, there’s the situation my Philadelphia Eagles found themselves in. After Nick Foles salvaged the Eagles 2017 Super Bowl run, they knew the salary cap and the demands of a quarterback-hungry league meant keeping both Foles and Carson Wentz was an impossibility.
Here’s where the bullshit detector goes full “red-line.” If Carroll thought Kaepernick was a starting quarterback, why the hell would even consider signing him knowing he already has one…who also happens to be one the best in the league right now? But it gets even better…just look at the crap dripping from this line:
“…So I just wish it would happen, and I wish we would have been a part of it when the time was available then…”
Total bullshit. First of all, you could have signed him; there’s nobody who thought then Kaepernick was still a starting quarterback in this league. This is a guy who lost his job to Blaine Fucking Gabbert TWICE! Look at that through the prism of the present; Kaepernick was seen as the lesser option to a guy who could only get another starting gig after the complete implosion of Marcus Mariota in Tennessee.
Here’s what that means. Once a coach wins a Super Bowl, he is accorded special status as an all-knowing football guru. If Tony Dungy said today that the Cincinnati Bengals would win the Super Bowl this year, just watch what would happen to the odds in Vegas on that. That means you have a Super Bowl-winning coach saying a guy is still capable of being a staring quarterback in a league where at least half the franchises are desperate for one, and nobody believes him? That’s because they all know he’s full of shit, if for no other reason then they know his non-sense about the timing is a complete pant-load. They could have signed him at any point over the past three-plus years…and they didn’t.
Not to mention, let’s say you don’t buy the “talent trumps fuss” argument. What do you think would happen if Patrick Mahomes showed up at the team facility wearing a Confederate flag t-shirt? Do you think the Chiefs would cut him? Not bloody likely.
But let’s say you still aren’t buying that. Let’s try it this way. If I were to ask you to name a franchise that a) needs a quarterback and b) could survive “fuss,” would the New England Patriots come to mind? Don’t even try to tell me if they thought this guy could play, they wouldn’t give him a shot to show it. After all, there’s no way the idea of heading into the season with Jared Stidham under center makes Robert Kraft’s dick hard enough to go back to the Asian day spa.
2) There’s solid “football-only” reasons Kaepernick isn’t playing football.
These aren’t new; I touched on these three years ago, and while some of the details may have changed, the base facts are as solid as they ever were.
A great way to make NFL teams nervous about your health is to lose 25 pounds on a new vegan diet while recovering from injuries to your knee, thumb and non-throwing shoulder. Surgeries combined with the weight loss raise concern, fair or not, if Kaepernick can still take the punishment incurred by his playing style.
Nothing different here, other than a possible amplification of the concerns what sort of shape Kaepernick might be in after three-plus years having a largely unknown training regimen.
Degradation of Ability:
Take the injuries I just mentioned and add them to a guy whose taken five year’s worth of pounding in this league. If you know anything about football and you’ve been watching, you don’t need an NFL scout to tell you Kaepernick is a few steps slower than he used to be, and his arm strength is a fraction of what it once was. That was on obvious display during the debacle in Chicago, and only works against him from here on out. After all, he’s already past the average length of a career for an NFL quarterback.
Again, time moves forward, and in the immortal words of Charles Barkley, “Father Time is undefeated.”
For the refreshing of all our memories here, the “debacle in Chicago” refers to the second time Kaepernick got benched in favor of Blaine Gabbert. Remember in 2016, the Chicago Bears were dreadful, and they had arguably the worst defense in the NFL. Facing that crappy defense, future Hall-of-Famer Colin Kaepernick completed one pass in five attempts for a grand total of four yards while rushing for twenty yards in six attempts. In other words, he showed the entire world that a guy who touches the ball on every play can still be a complete non-factor in an NFL game. Every NFL coach and general manager saw that and combined with the other signs of his slowing down knew that afternoon was a “preview of coming attractions.”
Those waving the Kaepernick banner can scoff at that all they want, but there’s no denying that isn’t at least a plausible reason he hasn’t been in the NFL for three-plus years. That’s why already debunked the primary argument of said “banner-wavers.”
Degradation of Performance:
The “stat quoters” will have you believe that Kaepernick is still a “C” student in terms of being an NFL starter. They base that on 12 games in which he posted 2,241 passing yards, a 59.2 percent completion rate, 16 touchdown passes against four interceptions and a 90.7 quarterback rating. You already know what I think about the “stat quoters,” so I’ll put it this way. I have no idea what quarterback rating even means, so I dismiss that out of hand. I’ve already addressed that touchdown-to-interception thing. Passing yards don’t mean much in a league where pass defense is essentially illegal. The completion rate is the respectable number, even if Kaepernick lives and dies on high-percentage throws designed for him not to fuck up too badly.
The bottom line is Kaepernick is a guy who has been in steady decline since his peak in 2013; a trend not helped by a string of injuries dating back to 2015. To be fair, he’s also been part of a train-wreck of an organization, and I firmly believe his decline and the departure of Jim Harbaugh are not just a coincidence. But to be even more fair, he’s been a sinking ship all his own.
The thing that occurs to me in retrospect here is that while the 49ers were a dumpster fire during this time, everybody forgets the descent from the Super Bowl in to the maelstrom of suck they became happened mostly with Kaepernick at the controls of the offense; most of which happened after they paid him “A-List” money.
In other words, even though they didn’t have a better option, the 49ers knew Kaepernick wasn’t the future, even though they had a multi-million dollar marriage to him. That’s why they renegotiated his contract giving him the opportunity to opt out. They didn’t want to release him and end up eating cap money; they gambled he would quit…which is exactly what he did.
Here’s where the devil is in the details…don’t worry, I’ve already pegged that as well.
This is the proverbial “elephant” in the room. There simply aren’t very many guys in this league who make the move from starter to back-up. Not many guys are willing to trade penthouse money for outhouse money; the NFL salary cap dictates most back-up quarterbacks make a slim fraction of what starters get. Not to mention, these guys have agents who aren’t interested is salary cuts, and don’t forget there’s a player’s union with a vested interest in player’s getting the highest contracts possible. The fact is Kaepernick opted out of a contract that would have paid him $14.5 million in base salary in 2017 and was reported to be seeking $9 million to $10 million in base salary from any new club.
Like I said, everybody loves to forget Kaepernick opted out leaving $14.5 million at least on the table. But there’s more; those number are important…
That makes Kaepernick dramatically overpriced for a back-up, and bargain basement for a starter. Let’s look at the back-up scenario first. As it stands right now (depending on who becomes a starter and a back-up in places with a current state of flux) Philadelphia’s Nick Foles is the league’s highest-priced back-up at $5.5 million. Foles actually makes a solid comparison with Kaepernick in the sense that they both had about five years in the league bouncing between bench and starter and both had a glimpse of potential greatness at one point. The difference is Foles’ career arc plateaued when he struggled as the starter in St. Louis. Kaepernick’s is clearly in decline for reasons I’ve already mentioned.
OK, a few things changed here. First of, there’s the aforementioned Nick Foles has come full circle from starter to back up starter to getting benched and is now going to compete for the starting job in Chicago. As it stands right now, the Indianapolis Colts’ Jacoby Brissett looks to be the NFL’s highest paid back-up quarterback with a newly-inked one-year deal worth $21.3 million.
That’s a bit of anomaly, as Brissett was signed before the Colts took a flyer on near-future nursing home resident Philip Rivers. As for Foles, he’s working with a $6.6 million dollar deal in Chicago; current stater Mitch Trubisky is pulling in $9.2 million. The bottom line is an experienced back-up quarterback in the NFL should expect an average salary in $2-$3 million range. The guy who Kaepernick got benched in favor of twice (Blaine Gabbert) is getting $887,000 to back up Tom Brady in Tampa Bay.
Another thing the “banner-wavers” don’t want to remember is that Kaepernick got a call from the dear-departed Alliance of American Football (AAF). He told the fledgling league he wanted $20 million; that marked the end of the AAF’s interest. Kaepernick effective set his price tag so high the XFL didn’t even bother calling, and no NFL team is going to for that amount. Here’s why…
What it comes down to is Kaepernick comes with too big of a price tag to be a back-up, and nobody is in a hurry to sink money into a starter in decline even if he’s a bargain. The reasons for that are also quite simple…you can quote all the stats you want, the fact is Kaepernick doesn’t pass the “eyeball” test anymore. It’s pretty hard to deny his skill set has suffered from all his injury troubles, which may also be a factor in the obvious change in his mechanical fundamentals. He just doesn’t run or throw anymore like the Super Bowl quarterback of five years ago. There’s no future in Kaepernick, and that’s what teams want to believe in from their multi-million dollar starter; that he’s the future. NFL general managers already know spending money on quarterbacks is a tremendous gamble; there’s simply no reason for them to bet on a guy who already has the odds against him.
Here’s the final nail. Those “banner-wavers” loved pointing out Kaepernick was a “Super Bowl” quarterback. It was three years ago when I first noted they were hanging their collective hat on a data point which then was already five years old. With the sole exception of not taking three seasons’ worth of the beating NFL quarterbacks can take, what got better in that time?
Here’s the dirty little secret. I think the 49ers knew this in 2016. I think Pete Carroll knows it now. Colin Kaepernick doesn’t want to play football. The reason is simple. He’s milked this thing for three years of not setting foot on a football field, and he clearly half-assed his way through that so-called workout last fall. The worst thing that could happen to Kaepernick now is to show up at training camp and get cut. That would prove the guys like me to have been right all along.
It’s way better to be a martyr than a guy cleaning out his locker for the last time.
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