Colin Kaepernick, who led the San Francisco 49ers to a Super Bowl and two conference title games and is still in his prime at age 29, continues to look for NFL employment. According to the Seahawks’ Michael Bennett, that job search should end with an offer from Seattle.
In fact, Bennett, who has praised Kaepernick in the past, claimed Tuesday that Seattle would be “a perfect place” for the free agent quarterback. The veteran defensive end said Kaepernick would both fit the Seahawks’ offensive style and be a respected figure in the locker room for his “courage” in engaging in social activism.
Some observers believe that Kaepernick, who opted out of his 49ers contract before the NFL’s free agency period began in March, has been blackballed by the league. He received widespread national criticism, as well as praise in many quarters, for his protests of the national anthem before games last season. President Trump derided Kaepernick, before and after taking office, and some teams may feel the quarterback’s skills are not worth possible backlashes from their fan bases.
However, there are indications the Seahawks have a genuine interest in signing the quarterback who spearheaded a major rivalry while with the 49ers. On Monday, Seattle Coach Pete Carroll confirmed that his team was “looking at” Kaepernick, as well as at Robert Griffin III, and an NFL Network report claimed General Manager John Schneider “reached out” to Kaepernick’s agent last week.
On Tuesday, Bennett told a Seattle radio station (via ESPN), “I think that Kaepernick getting the opportunity to be on our team would be really cool, would really be a good place for him because you have a coach like Coach Carroll who is up for challenges like that. You have an owner [Paul Allen] who spends and gives back to the homeless.
“You’ve got players on your team that give back in the community. You’ve got Russell Wilson, who shows that our team is built around community. So this is a perfect place for him.”
In theory, Wilson might not want his team to add a contemporary who could represent a potential threat to his starting status, but NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday that if Seattle did sign Kaepernick, it didn’t “sound like” Wilson “would have any sort of problem with it.” Rapoport added that the Seahawks had a simple reason for their interest in Kaepernick: They think he’s “the best backup available,” having also considered Blaine Gabbert (who signed with the Cardinals) and Christian Ponder.
“I think he would be very good in our locker room,” Bennett said of Kaepernick. “I don’t know why he wouldn’t. I think we all talk about the same issues. It’s just that he had the courage to be able to step up, and I get it.”
Bennett’s brother Martellus, a tight end who moved from the Patriots to the Packers in the offseason, raised a fist during a rendition of the national anthem before a New England game last year. Before a 2016 Seahawks preseason game, cornerback Jeremy Lane knelt during the anthem, and other Seattle players have spoken in support of Kaepernick.
The Seahawks appear to have reason to want to bolster their depth behind Wilson, given that their No. 2 quarterback, Trevone Boykin, is entering his second season and has unresolved legal issues stemming from a 2015 arrest for marijuana possession and public intoxication. Their No. 3 quarterback, Jake Heaps, is similarly inexperienced, a concern for a team that has Super Bowl aspirations, although Wilson has yet to miss a game in his five-year career.
As Seattle Times reporter Bob Condotta noted Tuesday, the key to Kaepernick signing with the Seahawks could be if the quarterback, who has made over $43 million in salary over his six seasons, agrees to a contract of around $1 million. With few apparent opportunities elsewhere, “leverage here would appear more on the side of Seattle,” Condotta pointed out.
“I think you look at the things he’s done over the years, on this team, we’re a running-based offense, and [to] be able to play the [read] option would give him a lot of opportunities to be able to be a featured player in the NFL again,” Bennett said of Kaepernick. “I think we’ve got a great system, great players and we’ve got Russell, who’s won a lot of games, too. So it’d be good for him.”