Should The Titans Sign Kaepernick? Not Right Now

Posted at 4:09 PM, Oct 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-04 17:09:41-04

With Marcus Mariota's status up in the air for Sunday's game against the Dolphins in Miami, the Titans needed a quarterback for insurance. On Tuesday they signed former Browns, Cowboys and Texans QB Brandon Weeden. 

Immediately, the Twittersphere exploded with criticisms of the signing, and the fact that the Titans didn't even entertain the idea of bringing in Colin Kaepernick. Weeden was picked after a tryout that included T.J. Yates and Matt Barkley. 

Everyone from bloggers to national radio hosts claim the Titans are just continuing the NFL's efforts to blackball Kaepernick for his role in starting the national anthem protests last year. They claim that Kaepernick is clearly a top 60-70 quarterback and should be on a NFL roster somewhere, and given Tennessee's current situation and the way the offense has been built around the similarly mobile Mariota, say the Titans would be the perfect fit. 

FS1 talking head Skip Bayless offered the hottest (insane) take of all, suggesting that Kaepernick is better than Mariota, and the Titans should sign him for that reason alone. 

Here's the deal: the Titans were never going to sign Kaepernick. At least not right now.

I don't disagree that Kaepernick is good enough to be on a NFL roster or that his skill set fits what the Titans want to do offensively, but you have to take a closer look at the situation. 

Mariota is listed as day-to-day, and people inside the organization remain hopeful that he can play Sunday in Miami. If that's the case, whoever the Titans sign, would be released by Sunday, spending less than a week with the team. They've also made it clear that, at least for this week, if Mariota is unable to go, Matt Cassel will start against the Dolphins. 

So the Titans set out Tuesday looking for a backup quarterback that they desperately hope isn't even on the roster by Sunday because that means Mariota is healthy enough to go. 

Kaepernick is not worth the trouble given the circumstances. 

If the Titans signed the former 49ers quarterback every media outlet in America would've dispatched reporters to Nashville Wednesday to talk to Kaepernick as he reemerged into professional football. The media scene for him, your third-string quarterback, would be a circus, and every other player and coach would be subjected to questions about Kaepernick, his activism and the continuing protests around the NFL. 

That is a monumental distraction at the start of a work week, especially for a team trying to wipe the taste of a 57-14 drubbing Sunday in Houston out of it's mouth. That's why Kaepernick wasn't an option, at least this week.

If Mariota's injury causes him to miss extended time or if Cassel struggles mightily again, then it may be time to have the conversation about what available quarterback can help the Titans the most long term. And that may very well be Kaepernick. 

But from the moment Jon Robinson became the general manager and Mike Mularkey was tabbed as the permanent head coach in Tennessee they've talked about wanting a certain kind of football player on their teams. The qualities at the top of their list are selfless, team first individuals that are positive impacts in the locker room and in the community. So far, through a season and four games, it's been a blueprint that's served them well as they've taken the Titans from 3-13 to 9-7 and now a 2-2 start to this season. 

Wherever you side on Kaepernick's protest or political views, you can't argue with a straight face that he fits that blueprint. 

I'm not sure a guy that wore socks depicting police officers as pigs or a Fidel Castro t-shirt would ever be a fit with the Titans or in Nashville, even if a long term solution was needed. But right now the Titans needed a short term rental that can quietly get them through the week. 

And the baggage that would arrive with the signing of Kaepernick is neither quiet or short term.