Why the Browns likely aren’t interested in Colin Kaepernick

(From Colin Kaepernick's Twitter @Kaepernick7)

Colin Kaepernick doesn’t have a job. After having something of a resurgent season with one of the league’s worst teams, Kaepernick remains unemployed. He also happens to play a position where supply is wildly outpaced by demand. The off-season is far from over, but as other players — including those with much worse resumes — begin to land on teams with presumed starting roles, it becomes a hotter and hotter topic: Colin Kaepernick is without a home.

Cleveland Browns tackle Joe Thomas was the latest to weigh in, recognizing that Colin Kaepernick’s lack of a job isn’t simply going to be about one thing. Is it his current status as a player more or less than it is his decision to kneel during the national anthem last season? When it comes to Kaep, he’s never going to be viewed as just a football player ever again; he’s someone who is willing to be an activist and speak out on his beliefs.

Regardless of how you feel about that — we all know that  everyone had a chance to weigh in on the matter in the previous NFL season — it’s going to be divisive with any NFL fan base. As a result, any team that thinks they could use Kaepernick’s services under center must also weigh that with the amount of noise that will come from some percentage of their customers who do not want him on their favorite team. Even that’s not all that plays into Kaepernick and his current situation.

Mike Florio discussed the Kaepernick situation with Joe Thomas’ comments on Twitter as the catalyst, discussing the Browns specifically. That’s as good a place as any for us to discuss this scenario. Here’s what Florio wrote about the Browns:

Which brings me back to the Browns. A year ago, they wanted him (Kaepernick). Now, after a season with a two-win team in an offense new to him while recovering from three surgeries with numbers that compare to those generated by Tyrod Taylor (a guy in whom the Browns reportedly were interested), the Browns want nothing to do with Kaepernick.

There are two possible explanations for this. One, the Browns are being the Browns, again. Two, Browns ownership wants nothing to do with Kaepernick.

Given that the Browns wanted Kaepernick a year ago, and in light of how he performed a year ago, Door No. 2 is a fair response.

First of all, Florio might be absolutely correct that Browns ownership wants nothing to do with Kaepernick. While Kaepernick’s brand of distraction is nothing like other distractions the Browns have faced since Jimmy Haslam bought the team, it’s still in the category of non-football “stuff.” I’m not going to try to sell you a false equivalency between Johnny Manziel, Josh Gordon, and Colin Kaepernick, but I’d be lying if I thought the Browns didn’t somehow consider them all with a super-wide definition of “distraction.”

Cleveland Browns Jerseys

The Browns were reportedly interested in Kaepernick, as were other teams a year ago when the 49ers were trying to trade him. Kaepernick never got traded, and the Browns tried the Robert Griffin III reclamation project. That also occurred in a year where the Browns eventually traded down away from Carson Wentz and accumulated an extra first round pick. One of the main differences between last year and this year is that No. 12 pick which the Browns might be able to use on a quarterback. This is also not to mention the first overall pick that the team could use — however unlikely — on a quarterback.

NFL front offices around the league are notorious for having “beer goggles” heading into the draft. They’ve convinced themselves that every player they select is going to be the next Russell Wilson, if not Tom Brady. When the Browns have as many picks as they do, who here will suggest that the Browns front office doesn’t think that they can do a hell of a lot better than Colin Kaepernick with one of their  draft selections? You know they think they’re about to spin gold. It’s only when you wake up with a 1-15 record authored by the concussion-filled brains of Josh McCown, Cody Kessler, and RG3 before you realize what you have or haven’t done with all those “assets.”

Part of this is on Kaepernick’s shoulders as well, and I’m not talking about his political activism. Even beyond that, he’s a guy who presumably wants to start. He’s given up a significant amount of money in order to hit the market when he made the decision to opt out of his deal. Even if he and the Browns had mutual interest, at this point in the off-season do you think the Browns would guarantee him a starter’s job and legit starter’s money? I don’t.

They’re already paying Brock Osweiler for the benefit of the Texans’ second-round pick in 2018. Part of having loads of cap space is using it to its most efficient impact. Depending on what happens with Osweiler, the Browns could be looking at well over $20 million in quarterback spending in 2017 with very little idea whether or not they, you know, have a quarterback. And while Kaepernick would be the best quarterback on the roster tomorrow if the Browns signed him, that’s not saying a whole hell of a lot.

At this point, there’s no choice but to let the Colin Kaepernick situation play out. It might take until after the draft and Kaepernick might have to agree to join a team where he’s competing for a gig with a rookie incumbent. If he doesn’t get signed, then we’ll have to figure out how to deal with that reality at that time. I’m not prepared to go all the way down that road today, except to say that it would be hard to figure out how it could happen that a quarterback-driven league could leave Colin Kaepernick out entirely. For the moment, you can blame timing and roster dynamics ahead of the draft. If the season proceeds without him fully, that’s a whole other conversation.

  • nj0

    What if he doesn’t want to? If I’m him, I’d rather sit in NE for one more year and wait to hit free agency in 2018. I think he stands to demand a lot more money with multiple teams bidding for his services.

  • Garry_Owen

    Well, if you have demands, you have demands.

  • Harv

    Griffin was great for the Redskins. Until defenses forced him to read or run and get the snot beat out of him. Their stories aren’t identical but close enough. If a guy can’t play from the pocket it’s hard for him to stay healthy enough even to be a placeholder. And the league is already well aware of what Colin cannot do.

  • nj0

    You can have all you want, but I wouldn’t be making them.

  • Garry_Owen

    My point just being that if there are non-negotiable items, then those remain non-negotiable. If that means no contract, then so be it.

  • tigersbrowns2

    i wouldn’t bring in Kaep to be the starter , he’d be backing-up Kessler … and then I’d still draft one of the big-4 QB’s.

    Osweiler is too expensive to be a back-up … i just hope we’re able to move him.

  • tigersbrowns2

    he may not want to , but i’d bet the lure of a big payday & the chance to be a starter , might do the trick.

  • nj0

    I hear you. I’m just being pedantic. If you have non-negotiable items (aka demands) and the other party doesn’t view them as such, it’s not really a negotiation. It’s just a big waste of everyone’s time.

  • Garry_Owen

    Sure. Totally agree. Having wasted far too much of my time in discussions like that, I’m always more willing to at least have those non-negotiables known up-front, because a “negotiation” that reveals the non-negotiables at the very end just . . . sucks. I’d rather know that I don’t have a negotiation before I take my coat off than to find out that we never had one after the crappy luncheon.

  • nj0

    But he’ll have the chance to be a starter and an even bigger payday a year from now too. Plus, he’d have options to choose from. He might even get another Super Bowl ring or the chance to fill Tom Brady’s shoes. That sounds much more appealing to me than coming to Cleveland.

  • mgbode

    I’d rather know what is being served for lunch before finding out whether or not to have the meeting.

  • Garry_Owen

    I’ll happily trade “no meeting” for “best lunch ever.” I hate meetings of all stripes.

  • mgbode

    Like a hitter in baseball, it is great if you can hit when you are first called up (Naquin), but then the pitchers learn the holes in your swing. If you can adjust, then you can be a MLB hitter. If you cannot, then you can tell your grandkids about those couple months where you hit at the MLB-level.

  • mgbode

    And there you go. I agree that I’d have Kessler ahead of him. Now, if Kessler’s agent reads Hue’s quotes this offseason, which lend themselves towards getting a rookie QB in there too? That means Kaep would be signing up to be a QB3 for one of the worst teams in the NFL.

    Why would Kaep sign when he might have a shot at being a QB2 for a better team if he waits it out?


    As for Brock, his contract is a sunk cost. It doesn’t mean anything. The FO isn’t going to tell Hue he has to start because of the $$$ and there’s no way Hue is going to start him for that reason.

  • mgbode

    Risk assessment. Grop might get to start a couple games next year (or more) and destroy his market with some bad showings. Or, he might get hurt again and scare teams off from guaranteed money.

    It would be tought to turn down $15m/yr now w/ let’s say the first 3yrs guaranteed.

  • mgbode

    I’ve been in some meetings where I have known that they hold no value and have just enjoyed the time “off” and the lunch provided.

    It can stink when you don’t know it was of no value until later though.

  • JohnJohn

    Is Chase Daniels and Josh McCown good?

  • Jonah

    I wouldn’t rule out Kaepernick to the Browns. People assume that he won’t get a job after a few weeks of free agency. And of course they think it’s because of his political activism, and of course there are GMs out there who probably think that way. But it’s important to remeber too, teams prepare for free agency like they prepare for the draft. It starts way ahead of time, and Kaepernick was still under contract.

    I could see a scenario were the browns start camp, realize that the have no good options at QB and quickly grab another body to compete so they can evaluate them. By then Kaepernick will be the only viable option. So time will tell.

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  • mgbode

    Let us all take a moment during our busy day today and listen to WFNY supporter Kerry sing the National Anthem and decide if it sounds “pretty dumb”

    I vote that it sounds beautiful.

  • Hopwin

    Brock is a sunk cost, we are going to be paying him regardless of what happens with Krapper.

  • Hopwin

    Ask Jonathan Lucroy….

  • nj0

    Even if he is, is it worth two second round picks to pay him $15M/yr or would you rather wait until he hits FA and get him at a comparable price without using draft picks? It’s a risk either way.

  • Hopwin
  • Hopwin

    We have a long history of signing injury prone QBs and turning them into day-to-day starters

  • mgbode

    Quite the contrary – recognizing meaningless work but accepting it so I can eat a wonderful lunch is just cost of it sometimes.

  • mgbode

    I’d rather draft Mahomes myself.

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  • Tall Texan

    No every team. In fact, I imagine surprisingly few teams. He can’t read defenses, so his mobility (reduced after injuries) and the long ball is all he’s got. That’s why his effectiveness tanked. There’s no zone read QB types left functional in the NFL. This dude has very little to offer, and then when weighed against his other “baggage”…

    I wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot pole. He’s made it clear he’ll use YOUR multi-billion dollar brand to make his “points,” and I suspect he’d find a new way to do it as soon as he’s on the field again, whether he stands now or not…this type of guy decides his interests are more important than your TEAM.

  • Tall Texan

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  • mhardt

    No collusion. Owners making decisions on own. List of reasons in no order. 10 mill wants chance to start, 29 old for NFL, needs own system not plug and play, Nothing.happens till after Romo goes, waiting to see what turns.up in draft, jets may.take Manziel now.buddy.Josh there, protest on own time such as a rally don’t.force.your non football views on my time.and.dime, problem not protesting.per se.but rather where.when and without permission, Go to rally after game.

  • Lance Biggerstaff

    Florio, Florio, Florio. I watch Pro Football Talk most mornings and you were one of the all-knowing lefties that pushed this kneeling down statement down our throats. It was mainly you and the rest of the NBC crowd to be honest. You kept showing it and saying falsities like, “he’s only expressing his rights and it has opened a discussion.” No, not even close. Your assessment like the news media’s assessment of the election couldn’t be more wrong. The NFL paid a hefty price because many fed up people like me decided to not watch football. It’s obvious the toll was great too. I watch football to watch a game, not to hear some false political statement. The issue was wrongly praised (by you) and the fact was I thought his method was mean spirited toward many in our country. And lastly, I don’t care what he thinks. I don’t care. Obviously, he felt playing football wasn’t enough so he wanted to play Mr. Political Statement. It appears he has his wish. He has lots of time now to play Mr. Political Statement.

  • Rise.Of.A.King

    No I think it’s chance for the Browns to grow a pair and make play to being legitimate football, Kaep can play flat out, the ready to start pool is slim and his is proving. The owners/management needs to know that it’s not about they’re biases, it about the game, the fans and the city…….. #BrownsNeedKaep

  • Rise.Of.A.King

    Its a chance for the Browns to grow a pair and make play to being legitimate football team, Kaep can play flat out, the ready to start pool is slim and he is proving. The owners/management needs to know that it’s not about they’re biases, it about the game, the fans and the city…….. #BrownsNeedKaep