The history of the NFL blackballing Colin Kaeperinick has repeated itself, first as outrageous farce and second as farcical outrage:
We catapulted through those emotions quickly Thursday after Deshaun Watson tore his ACL during a routine practice: The odds-on favorite for Rookie of the Year, gone in a midweek flash? (SHOCK). Darn it. We were just learning to appreciate both his game and his potential. (GRIEF). Now Texans-Colts is Tom Savage vs. Jacoby Brissett, the NFL equivalent of watching paint dry (DEPRESSION). But maybe the Texans will (HOPE)…no, they signed Matt McGloin because he “knows the system” from his one season with Bill O’Brien at Penn State (ANGER).
The NFL is blackballing Colin Kaepernick. It is systematically preventing a highly qualified individual from pursuing his career for political reasons. It is denying fans the best possible entertainment experience, and teams that need quality quarterbacks but sign randos are not making the best possible effort to win a Super Bowl.
And they aren’t even pretending to hide it anymore.
Maybe what the NFL is doing is not technically collusion. Maybe it is. But it is a clear violation of its own goals and its relationship with its audience.
The Watson injury is not the straw that broke the camel’s back. There have been about a dozen last straws. Watson is the straw that buried all evidence of the camel’s grave.
Nope. Kaepernick didn’t even merit token workouts. Meanwhile, McGloin got snapped up in minutes after the Watson injury, as multiple sources reported. The O’Brien-Penn State connection was enough of a “football reason” for a guy who throws like a coaching assistant (I got to see a lot of him in Eagles camp in the offseason) to get an immediate job, while a player who came within a few goal-line plays of winning a Super Bowl doesn’t even merit a phone call.
From free agency through the start of training camp, there was some baseline merit to the “football reasons.” Kaepernick doesn’t fit all systems and payrolls. Sure, he was better than anyone on the Broncos, Jets or Browns rosters from the moment those rosters were set, but each team could cite logic for going in a different quarterbacking direction that was more convincing than “our owner made a lot of campaign contributions to…”
Now that quarterbacks around the league have gotten hurt or proved woefully ineffective, the football arguments are silly.
It was ridiculous to claim that the scrambling Kaepernick was not a good system fit behind the scrambling Marcus Mariota in the Titans’ option-heavy offense. It’s outrageous for the Broncos to play Quarterback Roulette with try-hards and cost-sinks while pretending there is no quarterback on the market who has led a defense-first team to a Super Bowl.
Since we’ve already dinged the Texans here, can we discuss Mr. John Elway? The Broncos defense, while not what it was in 2015, is still probably the best in the conference and one of the best in the NFL. With the Patriots fielding their worst team in years, the conference is very vulnerable. And yet Elway started the year with a QB who was 1)below average last year and 2)had a college pedigree that very strongly suggested that “below average” was much more likely to be a ceiling than a floor. He had traded to draft up to pick another QB in the first round, but all you have to know about him is that he was beaten out twice by someone who wasn’t particularly effective even in Peonage Ball. And then, for the coup-ee de grass he backs up these two dubious or worse options with Mr. Brock Osweiler, who was easily the worst QB in the league not being actively destroyed by Jeff Fisher last year — while throwing to DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller! — but does meet what is apparently Elway’s sole criterion of QB evaluation unless a first-ballot Hall of Famer happens to hit the free market (being a really tall white guy.) The latter will start for Denver Sunday. Heckuva job! Osweiler will totally stand up very tall for Old Glory, though.
In related news, for the first time ever I happen to be in Las Vegas for an NFL Sunday, so I’m including the Eagles in a 3-team moneyline parlay (with the Rams and Seahawks.)