The Kaepernick – Seahawks Drama Just Won’t Die

Dec 14, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) looks to pass while under pressure from the Seattle Seahawks during the third quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 14, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) looks to pass while under pressure from the Seattle Seahawks during the third quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

I get it. Kaepernick is big news because of his social and political stance. It was big news when the Seahawks were the only team to bring him in for a visit. Since the Seahawks signed Austin Davis as a backup quarterback, you’d think the stories would leave it at that. Oh, you are so wrong.

The Kaepernick – Seahawks drama has just begun, apparently

One reporter has stated that the reason the Seahawks didn’t sign Kaepernick wasn’t money. No, the real reason is that Russell Wilson doesn’t want Kap on the team. Or, that the Seahawks want to protect Wilson’s ego. Or, that the Seahawks are afraid Kaepernick is so good he’d cause a rift on the team. Take your pick, since the person who wrote the article couldn’t decide on their own.

The reporter states that it’s odd that the Seahawks wouldn’t promote competition at all positions. After all, that’s how Wilson earned his starting job, by outplaying Matt Flynn.

Matt Flynn? Are you seriously comparing Russell Wilson to Matt Flynn?

Let’s look at Matt Flynn’s stats, shall we?

YR     TM     CMP     ATT     YDS     TD     INT     RAT   QBR

2010 GB      40         66     433      3         2        82.4   26.9

2011 GB       33        49      518     6         2      124.8   87.7

2012 SEA       5           9        68      0         0         79.9   32.7

2013 3TM 124     200    1392      8         5         85.7

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Yes, those numbers in 2011 got Flynn the ridiculous contract. But come on. Can you compare Matt Flynn to Russell Wilson without a near-death experience from laughter? Russell Wilson was brought in to compete with a guy who had a few good games. It’s hardly the same as bringing in someone to compete with WIlson.

Just in case you think the Seahawks didn’t give Flynn a fair shot, we included his stats for 2013, that he split between three teams – notably the Raiders and the Packers. Yes, he was so valuable that he was on three teams – and he didn’t attempt a pass with the Bills. After a bad 2014, he was out of the league.  So please, don’t compare Wilson’s opportunity to compete with a journeyman to what Kaepernick would face. Flynn’s career passer rating is 85.9. He surpassed that exactly once, his magic contract year. Wilson’s career passer rating is 99.6. His worst was last season, and that was still 92.6. Kaepernick’s career high was 98.3. His best season is the only time Kap’s passer rating was better than Wilson’s worst season. So let’s not talk about Wilson or the Seahawks afraid of the competition.

Let’s compare Wilson to his real competition

Time to take a look at some other quarterbacks whose teams are “protecting” them from competition. Again, Wilson’s career rating: 99.6. Some top players and their passer ratings:

Player                   Best Season   Career

Eli Manning         93.6                  83.7   (only beat Wilson’s worst season three times)

Andrew Luck       96.5                  86.3   (Wilson topped 100 three times)

Drew Brees        110.6                 99.3   (Career is Saints, Chargers worse. Wilson still higher)

Aaron Rodgers  122.5                104.1 (So no one can say I stacked the deck)

Tom Brady           117.2                 97.2 (Of course he’s phenomenal. Wilson’s career still higher)

Get the point? No one with a successful quarterback brings in a guy to compete for the job. You know why? Because they aren’t going to win the job. If they’re good enough to beat out Tom Brady or Eli Manning or Russell Wilson, they’re making way too much money to be available. Anyone that could come close to beating out any of these guys – or Wilson – isn’t going to sign for backup QB pay.

Yeah, pretty sure it was the money

Which brings me back to Colin Kaepernick. He opted out of a contract worth $16.5 million to get out of the train wreck the 49ers had become after Harbaugh’s departure. There are teams out there with awful quarterbacks. Seattle, as we’ve reported numerous times, doesn’t have the cap space to afford Kaepernick. Kap says this wasn’t about money. Pete Prisco reported:

Terms were never discussed, as Kap has said. It has been reported that while official negotiations were never held, there were talks on contract expectations before his visit with the Seahawks. I’d say that when you’re looking for a backup, and you eventually sign Davis for what is almost certainly under $1 million, the money wasn’t there for Kap. Notably, he isn’t tweeting that he would have signed the same contract Davis got.

It definitely wasn’t Wilson or the Seahawks afraid of competition

Kaepernick said he was comfortable playing as a backup. Wilson said he wouldn’t have any issue at all with Kap joining the team. Ian Rapoport reported this weeks ago:

Even one of the reporters that stirred this mess up admits it’s all noise, although he didn’t even realize it. He quoted Richard Sherman’s on Kaepernick’s ability:

"“You have about eight elites, and then you have the rest of the league. You have about eight, nine elite quarterbacks. You have two or three who have the potential to be elite. And then you have the rest of the teams. So he could play and start on a ton of teams in this league. He would be a starter on probably 20 of the teams in this league. But you’re telling me that you’re going to let other guys, you’re going to pick up some of these other guys and tell me that they’re starters?”"

So Sherman said that Kap could start for probably 20 teams. Which means Kap wouldn’t start for the top twelve teams. By that logic, since Kaepernick would threaten Wilson’s status, Russell Wilson isn’t one of the top twelve quarterbacks in the NFL.

Out of deference to the man’s reputation, I’m not linking to any of his articles regarding this. Anyone who implies Wilson isn’t a top twelve quarterback simply wasn’t thinking when he wrote that. As for Kap, his career passer rating is 88.9. That’s better than Eli Manning and Andrew Luck, let alone Mike Glennon or Blake Bortles. Kaepernick is good enough to start for a lot of teams, and should be starting – but he isn’t nearly good enough to be a threat to Russell Wilson.