What an strange time it is to be a football fan.
Nick Foles is a Super Bowl-winning quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo is the highest-paid player in the NFL and Johnny Manziel might be on the way back.
The Island of Misfit Quarterbacks is alive and well these days.
Umm, where’s Colin Kaepernick? If what I just wrote didn’t scream “the NFL quarterback pool is shallow” I don’t know what would.
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Yet, here we still sit in a standoff between the NFL and Kaepernick because of a political stance he took in what seems like ages ago.
We always hear how the NFL is a quarterback’s league, and it’s hard to dispute that.
Many figured the Philadelphia Eagles’ defense would have to do the heavy lifting in order to beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII. Instead, it was Foles – Carson Wentz’s backup – who outdueled Tom Brady to help the Eagles lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the first time.
Then came the news of Garoppolo, who has started seven career games – two as Brady’s backup and five with the San Francisco 49ers after being traded there midseason. In six games – five starts – with the Niners last season, Garoppolo threw for seven touchdowns and five interceptions.
Oh, yeah. And he’s 7-0 as a starter in a career in which he’s mostly been a backup thus far. The sample size was enough for the 49ers to grant him a five-year contract worth $137.5 million.
And to boot, recently Manziel came out and announced that he has bipolar disorder and suffers from depression. He said he has stopped drinking – an issue that played a big role in him disappearing from the NFL – and is taking medication while working toward returning to the NFL.
Good for him.
As I watched “NFL Live” the other day, one ESPN personality said she had talked to several NFL teams that said they’d be open to giving Manziel a second chance, possibly as soon as next season.
Again, good for him.
But each of these cases point to one reality of today’s NFL: it needs quality quarterbacks. Otherwise, I doubt teams would be lining up to draft the services of Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield, who, among others, all have flaws.
Well, how about looking at a QB who has led a team to a Super Bowl and had a 16-to-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio in 2016? Still nothing happening on the Kaepernick radar, and that’s a shame.
Yes, the guy is a controversial character after starting the “Kneeling Movement” that hijacked much of the 2017 NFL season. Yes, he’s worn socks depicting cops as pigs and, yes, he’s worn a Fidel Castro shirt.
But yes, he’s donated money to the cause he was protesting – what he believed to be racially-based police brutality in the United States of America, which was a hot topic at the time.
Let’s not forget: the guy can play. And in the NFL – and many other sports – many times that’s all that matters.
Was Ty Cobb a model citizen? How about Latrell Sprewell? There’s been many others who have done worse than Kaepernick.
Maybe owners will decide forcing him to sit out a season was enough and he’ll get a shot in 2018.
Now more than ever it’s obvious that he belongs in what has become the NFL’s Island of Misfit Quarterbacks.