Could Colin Kaepernick really be an option for a Seahawks’ team whose backup quarterback spot hasn’t exactly gotten clearer during the offseason?
Coach Pete Carroll didn’t rule it out during an interview on 710 ESPN Seattle Monday on the Brock and Salk Show.
Asked if Kaepernick or Robert Griffin III, both free agents, could be options for the Seahawks, Carroll said “we are looking at everybody. We really are. We’ve been tracking everything that’s going on and we’ve got cap and roster issues and stuff like that that we’re still trying to manage properly. But quite frankly, yes, we are looking at all those guys.”
It should probably be emphasized Carroll gave a really vague answer that is similar to what the organization usually says when asked about any personnel situation, meaning don’t necessarily read into that the team is making a contract offer to someone as we speak. And Carroll also seemed to be making clear they are looking at most veteran free agent QBs who are available not just those two.
But Kaepernick – who led the 49ers to the Super Bowl following the 2012 season – and Griffin, who won the Heisman in 2011 and led Washington to a memorable playoff game against Seattle that same year – remain the two biggest-name QBs whose styles seem to fit Seattle’s scheme.
And until the big names are off the board there will be lots of speculation about where they could land. Chatter linking Kaepernick to Seattle increased Monday with a column from Peter King of Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback listing 10 reasons why he thinks such a move would make sense (though he doesn’t say there has been any talk between the two).
Seattle’s current backup, Trevone Boykin, was arrested in March on marijuana possession and public intoxication charges, a case that remains ongoing (Boykin was also arrested a week later for violating his probation as a result of the March incident). After being arraigned on May 3, Boykin’s next court date is July 14 in Dallas County Criminal Court.
The Seahawks have publicly supported Boykin at every turn and have said the NFL has not told them there is any reason he won’t be available to them in 2017.
Carroll on Monday again praised the play of Boykin last season, saying “Trevone did a nice job for us last year” but then adding “but we are still looking, like we always will.”
Seattle had three QBs at its rookie mini-camp over the weekend, none of whom as yet would seem to be serious contenders for the backup job – former Skyline High star Jake Heaps, undrafted rookie free agent Skyler Howard, and rookie Michael Birdsong of Tennessee Tech. The team values Heaps for his knowledge of the offense and ability to run what it needs in practices, which is particularly valued in the offseason and training camp.
Carroll said Sunday that Birdsong graded out the best of the QBs during the minicamp and seemed to hint the team could add him to the roster.
That Seattle has little proven depth behind starter Russell Wilson, though, has led to talk all offseason that the team would add to the quarterback spot. There was conjecture the Seahawks could have considered taking Patrick Mahomes of Texas Tech had he been available when Seattle drafted at No. 26 (Mahomes was instead drafted by the Chiefs at No. 10).
There was also speculation about the Seahawks taking a quarterback on the second day of the draft.
Seattle, though, passed on QBs in the draft despite making trades to increase its number of picks from seven to 11.
The Seahawks, though, have been hoping not to spend a lot on a backup QB with Wilson’s deal now hitting its high-cap years – Wilson has a cap number of $18.8 million this season and it increases to $23.2 million by 2019.
One attraction to Boykin was that he came about as cheaply as a backup quarterback can – as a UDFA he made the NFL minimum last season of $450,000 plus a $15,000 signing bonus (which is pro-rated over the life of the three-year contract).
The Seahawks have $9.6 million in salary cap space but realistically may have about half that to spend due to other commitments, such as the practice squad and other in-season necessities, let alone potentially wanting flexibility to give extensions to someone like Justin Britt, as well as keeping some money around for other possible needs. Essentially, Seattle doesn’t have a ton of money to throw at a backup.
But the Seahawks also learned last season that Wilson – while having been incredibly durable throughout his career, having never missed a start – is not immune to injury, potentially giving a little more urgency to solidifying the backup QB spot.
What the Seahawks see over the next few weeks of the offseason program from Boykin and others may go a long way toward making any decision clearer.
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