There’s nothing anywhere that says an NFL team has to sign Colin Kaepernick. There’s nothing in the league rules, the bylaws or some sort of NFL bible that says someone who was once employed by an NFL team has to stay employed.
So, Kaepernick continues to sit and wait for the phone to ring. At this point, it’s hard to see Kaepernick getting work anytime soon, because if it’s not happening with the Baltimore Ravens, it might not happen at all.
The Ravens’ quarterback situation is a mess right now. Joe Flacco has a back injury, and it’s unclear when exactly he’ll return. Meanwhile, fill-in starter Ryan Mallett continues to stink up the joint at practice.
With Kaepernick sitting and waiting, the Ravens clearly are interested. Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh even told ESPN’s Dianna Russini on Tuesday that he enjoyed speaking with Kaepernick while heaping praise on the free agent quarterback’s football abilities.
If there was any team in the NFL ready to give Kaepernick a shot, it would be the Ravens.
But they haven’t yet. Instead, they signed an Arena League quarterback with virtually no college football experience who doesn’t even have a Pro-Football Reference page. And as Russini reported Tuesday — from Ravens camp, citing sources — Baltimore brought in Aaron Murray for a look. He’d join a group that also includes some guy named Dustin Vaughan.
What’s stopping the Ravens, a team with perennial Super Bowl aspirations, from signing a quarterback who’s played and succeeded in the NFL?
If we’re to believe Russini, that’s the owner’s decision.
Kaepernick’s “baggage,” if we’re to call it that — the national anthem protest, the social justice activism, etc. — obviously is the biggest reason he’s not in purple or black yet. He’s the best available option for a team that seems willing to turn over every other rock in its search for QB help.
The actual football decision makers — Harbaugh and general manager Ozzie Newsome — are on board. Owner Steve Bisciotti, per Russini, is not.
Bisciotti pledged at a recent conference with season ticket holders that the organization would do what’s best for the team and its fans.
“We’re very sensitive to it, and we’re monitoring it, and we’re still, as Ozzie said, scrimmaging it,” Bisciotti said. “So pray for us.”
The fan reaction, depending on who you ask, has been lukewarm at best.
There’s no way of putting a number on “numerous,” and if Bisciotti really didn’t want to sign Kaepernick, this seems like a pretty helpful thing to float out in the media. But ultimately pinning this on the fans, especially considering the work Kaepernick could do in Baltimore, would be lame as hell.
Plus, it’s not like Ravens fans had any problems supporting Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs, and their alleged transgressions were far worse than anything Kaepernick did. And the standing ovation they gave Ray Rice a few years back still is enough to make you throw up a little in your mouth.
This isn’t a football decision, and ultimately, it’s not going to be the fans’ decision. It won’t be Lewis’ decision. It’s Bisciotti’s call. And whether he’s acting on his own or representing the other 30 NFL owners, it’s his move. Baltimore clearly sees the value in signing Kaepernick, the football player. Without any hard evidence of a revolt, the fans probably would, too. After all, most fans would put aside their issues pretty quickly if Kaepernick helped the Ravens win football games.
Maybe Bisciotti is just wildly shortsighted and is making decisions based on an unquantified amount of angry fans. Or perhaps even more likely, he’s falling on the sword for the shield as part of a larger, more organized effort to keep Kaepernick on the sideline.
Either way, pray for the Ravens. They clearly need it.
Thumbnail photo via Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports Images