Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll officially announced that the team would not be signing controversial quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
With the Seahawks now off the table, Kaepernick’s 2017 season is in dire straits. At this juncture, it appears Kaepernick’s best chance to make a roster would be if a quarterback suffers an injury during off-season workouts.
Many people felt the Seahawks were a no-brainer fit for Kaepernick; he and Seahawks starting quarterback are both mobile guys, Kaepernick has friends in their locker room, and local people in the community are advocating for him.
However, Carroll gave surprising insight into his decision-making process.
Carroll said Kaepernick is a starter in the league, but they already have a starting quarterback in place.
From CBS Sports:
The rumors about Colin Kaepernick possibly landing with the Seahawks took an interesting turn over the weekend, although the rumors also hit a dead end — especially after the Seahawks signed journeyman Austin Davis on Monday as a backup.
Kaepernick reportedly really wanted to end up in Seattle, and the Seahawks reportedly liked him a lot, but according to Pete Carroll they aren’t signing Kaepernick because they view him as a starter and not a backup.
“Colin’s been a fantastic football player, and he’s going to continue to be,” Carroll said. “At this time, we didn’t do anything with it, but we know where he is and who he is and we had a chance to understand him much more so. He’s a starter in this league. And we have a starter.
“But he’s a starter in this league, and I can’t imagine that someone won’t give him a chance to play.”
That is a weird reason not to sign a quarterback, right? Especially when it’s the Seahawks we’re talking about. Carroll and John Schneider have routinely embraced competition during their tenure in Seattle — they found their franchise quarterback in Russell Wilson because they allowed Wilson, a third-round rookie quarterback, to compete against Matt Flynn, who signed a big contract in free agency.
Wilson was the better quarterback and it resulted in the Seahawks winning a Super Bowl because he was a perfect complement to Marshawn Lynch and an all-time great defense.
There was some speculation that the two parties did not agree to a deal because they couldn’t work out the financials, but according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, “That’s not the case.”
Florio also makes an interesting point: Could the Seahawks be worried about Kaepernick sitting behind Russell Wilson?
This all dovetails fairly nicely with a recent article from Seth Wickersham of ESPN about the Seahawks and the internal struggles they’ve dealt with as a team since losing the Super Bowl to the Patriots on the Malcolm Butler interception of Wilson on the 1-yard line. Richard Sherman can’t get over the interception, according to Wickersham’s story, and there are concerns about whether the Seahawks hold Wilson fully accountable or whether he gets more leeway because of his status as the quarterback.
Doug Baldwin’s admission that he doesn’t know whether Wilson is held accountable rang pretty loudly as well.
There’s also an angle that wasn’t really touched on heavily while we were all pointing to the Seahawks as a logical destination for Kaepernick. What if Wilson doesn’t want to be teammates with his old rival?
Seattle battled HARD against the 49ers for a few years when Jim Harbaugh was having success in the Bay Area. From 2011 through 2014 it was arguably the best rivalry in the NFL. That was primarily because of Harbaugh vs. Carroll, but the discovery of Wilson and Kaepernick helped fuel those teams to new heights and helped foster a bitter rivalry.
That would be a perfectly reasonable and logical explanation to keep Kaepernick off the roster. There’s no need to make the starting quarterback unhappy with the backup situation. But it is odd that the Seahawks might eschew maximizing competition at any position, which appears to be the case if they’re unwilling to bring on Kaepernick because he’s too good to be a backup.
This practically confirms the theory that the Seahawks passed on Kaepernick for reasons other than his anthem protest. Kaepernick’s presence could very seriously damage locker room chemistry.
This is the same assessment 30 other NFL teams likely made after he parted ways with the San Francisco 49ers.
While some will cling to the “blackball” theory, the Seahawks’ thought process should make it clear just how seriously coaches consider the dynamics of the locker room.