Colin Kaepernick to the Philadelphia Eagles. Imagine the possibilities, just for a minute. It would probably never happen, but close your eyes and think of the potential. Kaepernick’s immense athleticism and rocket arm has to be tempting for an offense predicated on RPOs and misdirection.
The move seemed improbable before Thursday night, but with backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld going down with a broken wrist injury, it now makes perfect sense. While head coach Doug Pederson has downplayed the need for sigining a proven veteran, the Eagles very much have a need at the position.
Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who hasn’t played for 890 days and counting, recently posted a workout montage video in which he teases a possible NFL comeback. He claims he’s “still ready” and wants to return. Eagles GM Howie Roseman should make that call.
But will he? Or will any team take him? It doesn’t seem likely, not after the way the league seemed to conspire against him amid claims that he was disrespecting the national anthem. For his part, Kaepernick had been taking a respectful knee during the patriotic song as a way to fight against social injustice.
Current Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins has long been vocal about some of the same issues Kaepernick has been railing against for years. He has taken his fight to the politicians and was honored by the Vanguards For Social Justice Awards.
Of course, the 31-year-old Kaepernick famously sued the NFL for collusion and won a settlement worth an undisclosed amount. Commissioner Roger Goodell has denied there was ever any conspiracy to keep Kaepernick out of the league.
“I think if a team decides that Colin Kaepernick or any other player can help their team win, that’s what they’ll do,” Goodell told reporters before the Super Bowl last January. “They want to win and they make those decisions individually in the best interests of their club.”
Eagles Perfect Landing Spot for Kaepernick?
The Eagles are one of the most progressive and forward-thinking organizations in football. They gave convicted dogfighter Michael Vick a second chance when he was released from prison in 2009.
The move was met with skepticism at first in Philadelphia and beyond, but Vick eventually won over fans with his heady play on the field and charity work off it. All in all, the decision to sign Vick worked out splendidly for all parties involved.
Would the team dare go down the rabbit hole again and take a flier on Kaepernick? The odds are slim to none. But let’s go back and examine comments made by Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie in May 2018 when he was asked that direct question during his annual State-of-the-Team address.
“I have no idea. We are completely happy with our quarterback situation,” Lurie said at the time. “So, like every position situation, if that happened [Eagles inquired about Kaepernick], we’d have to fully evaluate it.”
Lurie never slammed the door shut on signing Kaepernick, but it certainly didn’t sound like it was wide open. The owner went on to cite the Vick situation where the Eagles went through a “full vetting” process, including considering the strength of Vick’s character, the way he conducted himself as a teammate and evaluating both his football intelligence and his potential as a player.
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Lurie also gave a general overview of his attitude on players choosing to use their platform to combat social injustice. To be clear, he wasn’t directly referencing Kapernick in these comments.
“Anybody who wants to do proactive things, to try and reverse social injustice, I’m all in favor of,” Lurie said at the time. “It has to be respectful. It certainly has to respect the military and the people that serve, the women and the men that serve our country.
“I applaud anybody who can find respectful ways to use their platform, of trying to use their platform to discuss social injustice. We all need to discuss it. Again, I’m not talking about Colin here.”
Civil rights activist and national columnist Shaun King took issue with Lurie’s comments, but he appeared to have taken them out of context. The Eagles responded by posting the entire unedited transcript of the press conference on social media.
Again, it appears extremely unlikely the Eagles would consider bringing Kaepernick into the locker room this season. They don’t need another quarterback, with Carson Wentz entrenched as the face of the franchise, and with Nate Sudfeld receiving a full vote of confidence as his backup.
Still, it’s fun to think about the possibilities of adding even more talent to a team already considered a Super Bowl contender. Dream big, dream on.