One report Tuesday suggested the Seahawks are not likely to sign free agent QB Colin Kaepernick.
Maybe the biggest personnel question hovering over the Seahawks right now — will the team sign Colin Kaepernick? — remains unresolved as OTAs began Tuesday.
But Tuesday also brought a report that the answer could soon turn out to be no, and it came from someone who has as much of an in with the Seahawks as any media person out there — former NFL assistant coach and exec Pat Kirwan, who now works for SiriusXM NFL Radio. Kirwan reported on his show Tuesday and then later Tweeted that he does not expect the Seahawks to sign Kaepernick.
Kirwan worked with Seattle coach Pete Carroll for five years with the New York Jets in the 1990s, including serving as the team’s salary cap analyst during Carroll’s one season as head coach there in 1994. In fact, he’s close enough with Carroll that when Carroll became coach of the Seahawks in 2010 there was speculation that Kirwan could be considered as the team’s general manager or at least as an assistant to the head coach (Carroll also later wrote the foreword for Kirwan’s book).
So Kirwan would have reason to know.
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Teams don’t typically announce when they are not doing something and as long as Kaepernick is a free agent and the Seahawks don’t have another backup QB (or unless Carroll or someone comments on it publicly — the first general media access for the team during OTAs is Friday) then speculation will persist.
At the least, Kirwan’s report indicates further that a Seattle signing of Kaepernick is far from a slam dunk.
All along, the team has made it clear it is pursuing multiple backup QB options and not just Kaepernick, even if most of the attention has focused on Kaepernick for obvious reasons. When he visited last Wednesday, he did so with fellow free agent QB Austin Davis.
And while Kaepernick’s visit was described as good (though it’s always hard to know exactly what that means) it has been thought the Seahawks could bring in more QBs for visits, as well.
So who else is out there?
Two names stand out — 2011 Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III and former Minnesota starter Christian Ponder.
There’s also Davis.
None played to the level last year (if they played at all) that Kaepernick did with the 49ers.
But none would also likely command as much money as Kaepernick, who would have to be paid at least $775,000 via the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. So would Ponder, Griffin and Davis. But Kaepernick almost certainly would want more than just the minimum (I earlier wrote $900,000 but after checking Kaepernick would fall into the 4-6 accrued seasons category and thus would have to be paid a minimum of $775,000) after making roughly $14 million per season under his old contract with the 49ers.
While the Seahawks would like to bring in some competition for Boykin, they also don’t have a ton of salary cap room ($8.7 million according to OvertheCap.com). Boykin is due to make $545,000 this season and given that the hope is that a backup never plays — despite Wilson’s injuries of last season he has still not missed a start — the Seahawks would ideally pay as little as they can for that position.
That Kaepernick remains unsigned has been the subject of increasing debate (here is a good analysis from OTC’s Jason Fitzgerald) and the Seahawks are the first team he has visited since becoming a free agent three months ago, that also may not mean he will take the first offer of any kind that comes his way.
The Seahawks can’t offer Kaepernick a shot at a starting job and as noted may not want to pay a whole more than the veteran minimum. Kaepernick might well decide to wait things out and see if injuries or other factors could compel other teams with better opportunities to become more interested down the road.