The San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks had a heated rival for a couple years during the Jim Harbaugh/Colin Kaepernick era, but there seems to be some healthy respect between the teams. The latest comes from Richard Sherman, who said on ESPN’s First Take that he thinks Kaepernick is being blackballed because of his protest.
"I'm sure he is. It's difficult to see, because he's played at such a high level, and you see guys, quarterbacks, who have never played at a high level being signed by teams. So it's difficult to understand. Obviously he's going to be in a backup role at this point. But you see quarterbacks, I mean, there was a year Matt Schaub had a pretty rough year and got signed the next year. So it has nothing to do with football. You can see that. They signed guys who’ve had off years before."
I am generally not inclined to watch First Take, but this was an intriguing debate. Michael Irvin was also on the show, and he offered some of his own thoughts. He agreed with Sherman that something seemed fishy, but he also wanted to wait and see how the rest of free agency played out.
Free agency is two weeks old, and several notable quarterbacks remain on the open market. Tony Romo and Jay Cutler have not signed yet, while players like Mike Glennon, Mark Sanchez, Josh McCown, Nick Foles, and others have signed new deals.
They got into some discussion about what Kaepernick, and Irvin at times was operating under an assumption that the former 49ers quarterback wants a starting role and nothing else. We still don’t know for sure what Kaepernick wants, in part because we have not heard about meetings with teams. John Lynch mentioned there was a belief in the league that Kaepernick had been close to a deal somewhere, but we have not heard any follow-up or rumors on that. At some point, we would normally hear a leak of some sort.
In the meantime, Sherman doesn’t think it is necessary to wait out free agency before calling this a black-balling.
"You don't have 32 starting-level quarterbacks in this league. You have about eight elites, and then you have the rest of the league. You have about eight, nine elite quarterbacks. Then you have two, 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. At his best, 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, I’m not gonna say no names, but you’re gonna pick up some of these other guys and tell me that they're starters?"
I side with Sherman on this one (I imagine that was obvious), in part because of having quarterbacks like Josh McCown looking like a starter for the Jets in 2017. That being said, I am curious to see how things shake out with Tony Romo and Jay Cutler, and then what happens in the draft. Anything is possible from there through the start of the season, but I’m skeptical for the time being.