Good news this morning… Inspector Clouseau, Sgt. Preston of the Yukon, Ellery Queen and Joe Friday can all go home and back to sleep. The mystery has been solved and the stolen goods have been recovered. Of course, I am referring to Tom Brady’s Super Bowl jersey which went missing about 6 weeks ago right after the game and led to an international investigation and search. Not only did the authorities find Brady’s jersey from this year, they also reportedly found a jersey of his from Super Bowl XLIX two years ago that was also “missing” and Von Miller’s helmet from Super Bowl 50 a bit more than a year ago.
Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reported that the culprit here was a member of the credentialed media covering the game who had access to the locker rooms after the game(s). Obviously, that assertion has not been proven in court so far, but if it turns out to be the case, this is certainly not a feather in the cap for NFL Security.
Obviously, I am glad to hear that Brady and Miller will get their memorabilia back. However, I posited a wistful scenario a while back imagining that Brady had possession of his jersey all the time and was arranging for it to be planted in Roger Goodell’s basement so that it could be found there. I still think my ending to the story would have been a whole lot more fun…
Another “pressing issue” involving an NFL QB at the moment is the unsigned status of Colin Kaepernick. Spike Lee thinks it is tied to the racial overtones of Kaepernick’s national anthem protests last year; President Trump thinks that he has created the environment that has kept Kaepernick without a job because under President Trump, it is all about “America First”. As with most outrageous assertions, I think there is a germ of truth at the core of Spike Lee’s conceptualization and President Trump’s pronouncement. Let me try to square this circle:
- Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest had to do with his perception of improper treatment of African Americans by police officers in the US. Immediately, there is an element of “race” at the core of all of this.
- As with every protest involving social issues, there were supporters and opponents of Kaepernick’s protest. Some opponents thought he was wrong-headed to begin with; others – me included – thought that the vehicle he chose for his protest was not such a good one. No matter the reason, his protest perfectly naturally created opponents.
- Colin Kaepernick had a fat contract with the Niners after his taking the team to the Super Bowl a few years ago and managed to play himself out of the starting job there. When given the starting job back in the middle of last season, his record and his stats were not good at all. He started 11 games and the team record was 1-10-0; using ESPN’s QB Rating scale of 0-100, his rating last year was 55.6.
- Given the way he has played in the last two years, Kaepernick is surely a backup QB on a team with an established starter; and at best, he can compete on an equal footing for a starting job with a team that is desperate to find a starting QB. My assessment here has nothing to do with his activism; it has only to do with his performances for the past 2 seasons.
Now put yourself in the position of an NFL owner or a GM or a head coach and contemplate signing Colin Kaepernick. If you have a starting QB and are looking to sign a backup who has NFL experience, there are several options open to you. And one of the factors you probably need to consider is this:
- Do I need to sign a backup QB – someone I hope never needs to see the field on a Sunday – with the potential to bring drama and controversy to the team?
If the team judgment is that Kaepernick is undoubtedly the best available option, then you might consider signing him; if he is not clearly the best option, my guess is that you would look elsewhere.
Now suppose you are the owner/GM/head coach of a team that desperately needs a starting QB; I can think of about a half-dozen teams in that boat. In that circumstance, you would probably be willing to accept the drama/controversy aspects of signing Colin Kaepernick so long as you were also convinced that he had a good chance to be you staring QB in 2018 AND that he will be successful once he earns that position. I am doing this completely off the top of my head so I am sure I will have missed some candidates here; nonetheless, consider that these are some of the free agent QBs who like Colin Kaepernick are unsigned:
- Jay Cutler, Chase Daniel, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bruce Gradkowski, Robert Griffin III, Case Keenum, Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith
None of the QBs who come to my mind here bring Hall of Fame potential to the party – – but neither does Colin Kaepernick. So, if you are a team bereft at the QB position, where do you go on this list – – or do you go to the Draft and look for a developmental project?
The free agency period is nowhere near over; in fact, it is less than two weeks old. I am not surprised at all to see that Colin Kaepernick – and most of the people on my top-of-the-head list above – remain unsigned. There are football dimensions to the situation here AND there are intangible/PR issues to the situation.
Finally, since today’s discussion has focused on NFL QBs, here is a comment from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times about a possible future NFL QB:
“The second coming of Kenny “The Snake” Stabler, perhaps?
“Pinnacle High School in Phoenix boasts a highly recruited QB named Spencer Rattler.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………