As the reality of life without Russell Wilson becomes more real, the rumor mill continues to churn about how the Seahawks will replace him.

Is Drew Lock, one of the three players the Seahawks will get from Denver in return for Wilson, really an option as the starter? It’s thought the Seahawks felt highly of him coming out of Missouri in 2019 and think there’s a lot of potential that wasn’t tapped during his three years and 21 starts in Denver, in which he had an 8-13 record.

Could Deshaun Watson really be a possibility? He well could after a grand jury in Houston declined Friday to indict him on sexual harassment and assault charges. While he still faces up to 22 civil suits and an ongoing NFL investigation, that he won’t face criminal charges means he is likely to be a trade target of numerous QB-needy teams possibly also including Carolina and Tampa Bay as well as potentially Seattle.

More

Could Seattle target former Oregon star and Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota, a backup with the Raiders last year set to become an unrestricted free agent Wednesday? It’s regarded as a legitimate option.

In fact, at the moment, it’s probably best to consider that just about anything and everything might be a possibility.

Could one of those options even be former 49ers starter Colin Kaepernick?

Advertising

That question buzzed through social media Thursday after Kaepernick posted video of himself working out and ESPN then quoted a source saying he is “in the best shape of his life. He wants to play. He’s ready play. He would be a great fit for teams with QB vacancies to fill who want to win a Super Bowl.”

That the Seahawks (A) have a sudden and obvious need at quarterback like never before and (B) are the only NFL team known to have talked to Kaepernick about a contract since he last played, made it obvious to speculate whether Seattle might reach out to him again.

The Wilson trade itself seems proof to never rule out anything. But an initial thought is that it’s unlikely.

One reason is the simple football reality that Kaepernick has not played in an NFL game since Jan. 1, 2017 — interestingly enough, a 25-23 loss to the Seahawks — or been on a roster since then, and he turns 35 in November.

That isn’t his fault, but from a strict football standpoint, it would be a consideration for any team thinking about it, and would almost certainly mean needing to bring him in for a workout and physical first.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk concluded Thursday night that five-year gap without playing means no team is likely to sign Kaepernick now, writing: “It’s over for Colin Kaepernick. There’s no way that any team will sign him at this point, not after he has gone half of a decade without playing football of any kind.”

Advertising

There is also the history between the two.

Seattle had Kaepernick in for a workout in spring 2017 following what was to that point the rockiest season of Wilson’s career, an injury-plagued season that was the only one during his time in which he wasn’t named to the Pro Bowl.

After the workout, the Seahawks decided not to sign Kaepernick, with Carroll later famously saying: “He’s a starter in this league and I can’t imagine — we have a starter. But he’s a starter in this league, and I can’t imagine somebody won’t give him a chance to play.”

One other apparent factor in Seattle’s decision was some trepidation over whether Kaepernick might threaten Wilson’s standing in the locker room — Wilson had just completed the first year of a contract making him the second highest-paid player in the league — especially if there became any legitimate debate over who should be the starter.

Seattle reached out again to Kaepernick in 2018 after releasing backup Trevone Boykin in the wake of domestic violence allegations, and no longer with as much concern over locker room dynamics with some key members of the defense gone and Wilson having had a rebound year in 2017.

But after setting up a workout with Kaepernick — with the thought that if it went well, he would be signed — the Seahawks had another call with Kaepernick that resulted in what can at the very least be termed as a difference in how it was characterized.

A report surfaced shortly after the conversation that the Seahawks had canceled the workout because Kaepernick had “declined to say he would stop kneeling” during the national anthem, as ESPN put it.

Advertising

The Seahawks were said to view the situation with a little more nuance, viewing the question as one of just many in wanting to get a better sense of all of his off-field plans and not limited solely to the anthem.

As Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network tweeted at the time: “On Colin Kaepernick and #Seahawks: From a team perspective, they wanted to hear Kaepernick’s plan going forward, including but not limited to kneeling. There is also the lawsuit, for instance … From those close to Kaepernick, they maintain it was only, Will you keep kneeling?”

The Seahawks maintained at the time they had only postponed the workout and could bring in Kaepernick later. But that never happened. The Seahawks also did not end up attending a workout Kaepernick held in Atlanta in November 2019, after it was moved at the last minute.

Carroll and Seahawks general manager John Schneider then gave depositions the following month in Kaepernick’s grievance against the NFL alleging collusion — he later reached a settlement with the league.

If there were any lingering feelings from that situation they appeared gone in June 2020, when Carroll said he wished the Seahawks had signed Kaepernick in 2017.

“I regret that we weren’t the one way back when that just did it just to do it, even though I thought that it wasn’t the right fit necessarily for us at the time,” Carroll said. “The reason it wasn’t the right fit is because I held him in such a high regard I didn’t see him as a backup quarterback and I didn’t want to put him in that situation with Russ. It just didn’t feel like it would fit right.”

Seattle, of course, is now looking not for a backup to Wilson but his replacement and could view Kaepernick differently.

And if the odds might seem against it, the past week has proven that in the NFL, anything can happen.