Colin Kaepernick can’t be completely ignored — not during this whirlwind of NFL activity. The Miami Dolphins are part of that conversation.
The Dolphins haven’t made significant progress in recruiting free-agent talent this offseason. After trading Ryan Tannehill to the Tennessee Titans on Friday, it’s clear that the team is now in full rebuild mode.
As of this moment, Miami only has unproven QBs — Luke Falk and Jake Rudock — on its roster. With no one remotely considered a proven play-caller, the team is in dire need of a new face under center.
Enter Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, who has shown interest in joining the ‘Fins. The most polarizing figure in the league hasn’t played since the 2016 season with the 49ers, but has been training and praying hard that any NFL team will give him an opportunity to prove his worth.
Here are three reasons why the Dolphins should take the plunge and sign Kaepernick this season.
1. Merchandise Sales and Media Coverage
Beyond the action on the football field, Kaepernick’s name alone will draw a ton of eyes to the Dolphins in 2019, for better or worse.
Considering how the general public has reacted to the recent news and developments surrounding Kaepernick, it seems that the masses have moved on from the Nevada product’s national anthem-kneeling powder keg from 2016.
As evidence of the public’s support and the increased popularity of Kaepernick, look no further than his Nike campaign ad, released around the start of the 2018 NFL season.
Kaepernick’s well-renowned slogan — “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything” — captured the hearts of minds of many viewers, with Nike seeing a huge spike in social media likes and sales numbers.
There’s no mistake that some people will never be convinced that Kaepernick deserves another shot at playing football for his display of activism. Then again, a handful of players in the league have done far worse than what the outspoken QB did. Yet, all that matters for most franchises is production on the field.
With that in mind, the Dolphins are actually sitting on a gold mine, given that the majority of the American viewing public has moved past the Kaepernick debacle of 2016. It’s only a question of whether his actual output on the gridiron will be worth its weight or merely prove to be fool’s gold.
Regardless, the team should still expect a significant increase in merchandise sales and viewer ratings this year, even if Kaepernick’s stellar stint with the Niners ultimately proves to be a flash in the pan.
2. Low-Risk, High-Reward Option Entering the 2020 Season
Let’s not forget that the Dolphins have the upper hand in negotiating a deal with Kaepernick; the latter is more eager to benefit from the transaction.
Miami could sign the 31-year-old quarterback to a one-year prove-it deal for as little as Kaepernick will agree to. As mentioned earlier, the cost of Kaepernick’s contract could easily be recovered or even net a positive return from merchandise sales alone.
It’s not as though the Dolphins are strapped for cash. The Tannehill trade freed up $33 million in cap space over the next two seasons, giving them plenty of leeway to make a few more moves in free agency.
Furthermore, Miami is projected to have an estimate of over $120 million in cap room for the 2020 season. Should the Kaepernick experiment work out this year, the Dolphins will have plenty of funds to bolster the team around him, and to lock down the agile gunslinger to a long-term deal.
3. The QB Well in Free Agency Has Already Dried Up
The Dolphins had their eyes set on a couple of free agent quarterbacks this season, but those ships have already sailed.
What’s left on the market are notoriously inconsistent QBs: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Blake Bortles and Brock Osweiler. The Dolphins weren’t even considering re-signing Osweiler after his brief showing in Miami last season.
The Fins haven’t had a truly relevant quarterback since Dan Marino. Although Kaepernick hasn’t had as much time to prove that he can put up huge numbers, he wasn’t even given another chance to do so.
The Dolphins would be remiss to pass on Kaepernick. They have a new coaching staff, and Kaepernick is definitely motivated to replicate his stellar form in San Francisco in 2012 and 2013.