Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson’s suspension is currently for the first six games of the 2022 NFL season. After the NFL appealed the ban (basically to itself) on Wednesday, Watson is now likely looking at least double-digit games missed and possibly losing the entire season. What’s the answer for the Browns' impending QB woes? How about Colin Kaepernick?
The controversial former San Francisco 49ers signal-caller and social activist hasn’t played an NFL snap since New Year’s Day 2017, and he will be 35 by Week 9 of the 2022 season. There are plenty of reasons Cleveland shouldn’t consider Kaepernick to become a Browns quarterback during the Deshaun Watson suspension.
However, there are at least three reasons why the Browns should give Colin Kaepernick a chance.
Why the Browns should give Colin Kaepernick a look during the Deshaun Watson suspension
3. It’s good PR (for some fans)
The Browns' last six months or so have been a public relations nightmare.
Between trading a massive haul of draft picks for Deshaun Watson (a player dealing with two dozen-plus accusations of sexual misconduct), giving him a huge, suspension-proof contract extension, and the entire Baker Mayfield saga, the Browns PR department has worked overtime this offseason.
All these moves are a tough look the Browns and the franchise could use some good publicity.
Giving Colin Kaepernick a legit look in training camp is a double-edged sword, though. Many NFL fans are still not happy with the former QB kneeling during the national anthem and his social activism since.
However, there is another large swath of fans (and the majority of the national media) who believe Kaepernick deserves another legitimate shot at playing in the league. It’s hard to estimate the percentage of fans who would welcome a Kaepernick tryout vs. the ones who wouldn’t.
What an audition for Kaepernick would do, at least, is get the Browns some positive press from many outlets that are now crushing them for the whole Watson saga.
2. Brining in Colin Kaepernick is low-risk from a football perspective
Outside noise aside, there is little to no risk in bringing Colin Kaepernick into training camp and giving him a trial for the Browns quarterback spot.
The Browns will likely look to bring in other camp arms at this point anyway, so why not make Kaepernick one of them?
The Browns quarterback room currently has Jacoby Brissett and Joshua Dobbs, and it recently added first-round bust Josh Rosen. The total win-loss record of this group as starting QBs is 17-36 (and Dobbs has never started an NFL game).
Kaepernick’s regular season record is 28-30, and he’s taken a team to the Super Bowl.
From a football perspective, bringing in Kaepernick has as little risk as trying out current free agent QBs like Mike Glennon or Garrett Gilbert, but with way more upside.
1. Fortune favors the bold at the quarterback position
Especially if the Deshaun Watson suspension grows on appeal, the Browns need to make a bold move to salvage their season. Taking a chance on a Colin Kapernick tryout to fill the Browns quarterback role is a bold move.
The chances that Kaepernick, after five seasons off, comes in and leads the Browns to a Super Bowl are slim. However, when it comes to the NFL QB position, slim chances pay off huge from time to time.
You know what other moves had a small chance of producing a Super Bowl-quality QB?
How about the New England Patriots drafting a signal-caller out of Michigan named Tom Brady at pick No. 199 in the sixth round? Or the St. Louis Rams signing a grocery store-stocking former Arena League QB named Kurt Warner.
The list goes on and includes the Denver Broncos bringing in a broken-down Peyton Manning and the Philadelphia Eagles re-signing their former draft bust Nick Foles.
Colin Kaepernick most likely won’t be the Browns quarterback in 2022. But with a long Deshaun Watson suspension immanent, isn’t taking a look at him worth a shot?