Thursday, March 30, 2017

Reaping What You Sow: The Colin Kaepernick Story

It seems like yesterday Colin Kaepernick was the best thing since sliced bread. The rocket armed, inked up, bicep kissing dual threat quarterback was torching defenses left and right and was one throw away from adding "Super Bowl Champion" to his resume.

Life comes at you fast.

Fast forward five years, and 2017 is a vastly different animal than 2012. Shortly after their Super Bowl run, the 49ers organization collapsed similar to a house of cards in what might have been one of the worst off-seasons in modern sports history. San Francisco, along with Colin, watched more than 16 players either retire or flee to free agency following Jim Harbaugh's departure to the collegiate level, among other coaches leaving the 49ers as well. Nothing has been the same for Kaepernick, Not his coaching staff, not his play, not even his diet.

So following another disappointing campaign in 2016, Colin opted out of his newly structured deal, and decided it was best if they started seeing other people.

Here's where the tin-foil hats start to emerge from the cornfields.

In-case you somehow forgot, 2016 kicked off the year of Colin Kaepernick's national anthem protests. Kaepernick received much backlash for his kneeling during the star-spangled banner, and many athletes followed suit in support. Many fans turned to booing, boycotting, and even humoring the message Colin was trying to peacefully portray.

It was a truly odd moment for us as a society, to poke athletes and wish upon a star for them to use their platform to speak their minds and stand up (or kneel in this case) for what they thought was right. We as people thirst for this so bad- but only if it's our views they're projecting. 

Colin Kaepernick officially opted out on March 3rd, and less than a month into the process, still remains jobless. The question we all pondered was where he would be starting, not when he would be offered a job. More-so, the question being asked is why? Why doesn't Colin have a job yet? 

Grab those hats I was telling you about, kids.

An overwhelming majority of social media and news outlets cling to the narrative that Colin is being treated unfairly in his job hunt, maintaining the idea that his protests and outspoken beliefs are ultimately costing him another chance to play the game that he loves. And as much as I would love to play along with the story-line, I simply cannot.

It's simply not true.

Now before the social justice warriors burn this article down and follow suit on my social media sites, we need to acknowledge the fact that I like Colin. He seems like a caring person who actually took a stand for his beliefs, while also following through with his word about donations (when's the last time your favorite athlete put 60 tons of food and water on a plane to aid in helping end famine?). Whether you agree with his political beliefs or not, the way he is carrying himself and holding true is something to be respected.

However, Colin Kaepernick is NOT a good quarterback. Not since Harbaugh dashed for Michigan. His arm strength is phenomenal, yet when a football isn't on target, the velocity of a ball doesn't matter as much as it should. Colin has happy feet, tends to ditch the play and takeoff with the football, struggles to progress through reads and even struggles identifying defenses. We're talking about a man who was benched for Blaine Gabbert, multiple times.

And you expect him to find a job where exactly?

If Jay Cutler, who is somewhat a better quarterback than Colin, is struggling to find a new home as a starting quarterback, one can only fathom how hard-pressed Kaepernick is to find a new gig.  It was recently brought to light by many outlets that Kaepernick was asking for $9-10 million a year, and a chance at a starting position. That's an awful lot to expect given his downward play the past three seasons. Colin's not exactly doing himself any favors in this process.

As much as there is to blame on Colin pinning his hopes of a news start on an outdated version of himself, the market also takes it's fair share of blame.

Put yourself in the shoes of an NFL GM who's seeking an NFL quarterback for the future. In this example, we'll use the Cleveland Browns. With the amount of draft picks acquired, it's clear the path to rebuilding your franchise is through a youth movement. Who's ceiling is higher? A quarterback about to hit 30 this year who's been torched by opposing defenses on a routine basis, or an up and coming college kid you can groom as your own into your system and culture? Teams such as Cleveland are looking to build long term, and Kaepernick simply doesn't fit the visions of the future.

But what about teams built to win now? Surely they would take a look at Colin given his situation. And that may be true, had he been willing to accept a discounted salary and willing to be a number two man in case they needed him to be. However, with Dallas dangling a hot and ready Tony Romo to teams such as Denver and Houston and names such as Kirk Cousins and Jay Cutler who are more capable of leading a team at this time, Colin is stuck in a market that doesn't believe in his ability to win now, or win for the future.

The eye opening part of this whole scenario is Kaepernick left on his own terms. After all, he was the one who opted out of his deal with San Francisco. As a 49er, Colin was at least guaranteed to be on the roster and compete to win. Even more astonishing? Jed York, CEO of the San Francisco 49ers, not only supported Colin, but highly praised him for his efforts. It's not clear exactly why Colin left the surest bet to continue playing football to see if the grass is indeed greener on the other side. Either Colin thought he was worth much more, or he needs a new group of friends around him.

Yet many of those around me continue to hold true to their hearts that Kaepernick is indeed a victim. A victim of a 2017 America where you can't speak your mind against the establishment without becoming an outcast and sacrificing everything. It's difficult to find a true comparison to Kaep's unique situation, however many are quick and continuous to draw comparisons to former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow (don't get me started), a man who is also notoriously misconceived for being ran out of the NFL for being outspoken about his beliefs. Fun fact: If Tim was as talented as everybody believed him to be, he'd still be playing.

What it boils down to, is a question many coaches, scouts and front office personnel have to ask themselves every year when evaluating players: Can this guy play at a high enough level to win us football games?

It's not about kneeling in front of dozens of cameras to get your message across. It's not about locker room interviews getting political. This league and professional sports in general have, and always will be commanded by talent over everything. If a guy is talented enough, those issues are tabloid material at best. Should Kaepernick have begun this in the greater stages of his career (which raises another valid point, where was he years ago with all of this?) Colin would receive much less negative reflex from those around him. Why? Because when you are talented enough to effect football games, the guy in the press box who signs your checks is much more willing to ride with you. 

But here's to the sincerest of hopes that Colin revitalizes his career. The narrative of the 2017 NFL would be much juicer with Kaepernick on his revenge tour, and to wish harm on anybody's career path goes against moral duties of our society. Colin has done a lot of good off the field, and unfortunately his play on the field doesn't quite match up to the standard.

When Colin Kaepernick took a knee on that faithful night, spurring one of the most controversial and recycled news story driven seasons we've seen yet, he chose to exercise his freedom, something he is entitled and welcomed to do, For freedom is what this country was built upon. Just don't be upset when teams decide to do the same.

You reap what you sow, Colin.

Donnie Druin is an award-winning writer from the Arizona Newspaper Association. Follow him on Twitter @DonnieDruin 
for updates/news/takes on all the sports you love, or just to tell him to stand up off the couch while the national anthem plays on TV.

Friday, March 10, 2017

NFL Free Agency Tracker: Day Three

Welcome to your guide for the crazy whirlwind of tweets, calls, information and deals known as NFL Free Agency! Any signing, potential signing, rumor or other transaction that happens during the free agency period will be available here.

Total Dollar Amount Spent Through Day 2 of Free Agency: 

Top Ten Teams According to Cap Space Available (via Spotrac)
  1.  San Francisco- $88.9 million 
  2. Cleveland- $83.8 million
  3. Jacksonville- $70.4 million
  4. Tennessee- $54.8 million
  5. Indianapolis- $43.4 million
  6. Chicago- $43 million
  7. Oakland - $40.8 million
  8. Tampa Bay - $34.3 million
  9. Green Bay - $33.5 million
  10. Arizona- $32.6 million 

*Figures are valid through 3/10/17

On this page you will find all the free agent signings listed by position, and are done in order of highest contract total.


Mike Glennon- Chicago Bears- 3 years/45 million, ($19 million guaranteed)
Kirk Cousins- Washington Redskins- 1 year, $23.94 million franchise tag
Brian Hoyer- San Francisco 49ers- 2 years, $12 million ($10 million guaranteed)
Matt Schaub- Atlanta Falcons- 2 years, $9 million
Landry Jones- Pittsburgh Steelers- 2 years, $4.4 million ($600,000 guaranteed) 
Matt Barkley - San Francisco 49ers- Terms TBA

Fullbacks/Running Backs: 

Kyle Juszczyk- San Francisco 49ers- 4 years, $21 million ($10.5 million guaranteed)
Patrick DiMarco- Buffalo Bills- 4 years, $8.5 million ($4 million guaranteed)
Jacquizz Rodgers- Tampa Bay Buccaneers- 2 years, $3.3 million
Mike Tolbert- Buffalo Bills- 1 year, $1 million
C.J. Spiller- Kansas City Chiefs- 1 year, $980,000 
Danny Woodhead- Baltimore Ravens- 3 years, monetary details TBA

Wide Receivers: 

Pierre Garcon- San Francisco 49ers- 5 year, $47.5 million ($17 million guaranteed)
Robert Woods- Los Angeles Rams- 5 year, $39 million, ($15 million guaranteed)
DeSean Jackson- Tampa Bay Buccaneers- 3 year, $35 million, ($20 million guaranteed)
Kenny Britt- Cleveland Browns- 4 year, $32.5 million, ($17 million guaranteed)
Kenny Stills- Miami Dolphins- 4 year, $32 million, ($20 million guaranteed)
Terrence Williams- Dallas Cowboys- 4 year, $17 million
Torrey Smith- Philadelphia Eagles- 3 year, $15 million
Alshon Jeffery- Philadelphia Eagles- 1 year, $14 million
Brandon Marshall- New York Giants- 2 year, $11 million ($5 million guaranteed)
Marquise Goodwin- San Francisco 49ers- 2 year, $8 million
Terrelle Pryor- Washington Redskins- 1 year, $6 million
Aldrick Robinson- San Francisco 49ers- $6 million
Charles Johnson- Carolina Panthers- 1 year, $2.2 million
Russell Shepard- Carolina Panthers - 3 years, Terms TBA

Tight Ends:

Martellus Bennett - Green Bay Packers - 3 year, $18.5 million Dion Sims- Chicago Bears- 3 years, $18 million ($10 million guaranteed) 
Rhett Ellison- 4 years, $18 million ($8 million guaranteed)
Levine Toilolo- Atlanta Falcons- 3 years, $12 million ($3 million guaranteed)
Darren Fells- Detroit Lions- 1 year, $1.5 million

Offensive Line:

Kevin Zeitler- Guard- Cleveland Browns- 5 years, $60 million ($31.5 million guaranteed)
Matt Kalil- Tackle- Carolina Panthers- 5 years, $55 million ($25 million guaranteed)
Russell Okung- Tackle- Los Angeles Chargers- 4 years, $53 million ($25 million guaranteed)
Andrew Whitworth- Tackle- Los Angeles Rams- 3 years, $36 million ($15 million guaranteed)
Ronald Leary- Guard- Denver Broncos- 4 years, $35 million ($20 million guaranteed) 
Larry Warford- Guard - New Orleans Saints- 4 years, $34 million ($17 million guaranteed)
Mike Remmers- Tackle - Minnesota Vikings- 5 year, $30 million
Menelik Watson- Tackle - Denver Broncos - 3 year, $18.3 million
J.C. Tretter- Center- Cleveland Browns- 3 years, $16.75 million ($10 million guaranteed) 
Benjamin Ijalana- Tackle- New York Jets- 2 years, $11 million
Stefen Wisniewski- Center - Philadelphia Eagles- 3 year, $9 million
Luke Joeckel- Tackle- Seattle Seahawks- 1 year, $8 million
Chance Warmack- Guard- Philadelphia Eagles- 1 year, $1.51 million
Marshall Newhouse- Tackle- Oakland Raiders- 2 years, Terms TBA
Eric Winston- Tackle- Cincinnati Bengals- 1 year, Terms TBA
Kelvin Beachum - Tackle- New York Jets- Terms TBA

Defensive Line: 

Calais Campbell - DE- Jacksonville Jaguars - 4 years, $60 million ($30 million guaranteed) 
Brandon Williams - DT- Baltimore Ravens - 5 years, $54 million ($27.5 million guaranteed)
Nick Fairly - DT- New Orleans - 4 years, $30 million
Jabaal Sheard- DE - Indianapolis Colts- 3 year, $25.5 million
Stacy McGee - DT- Washington Redskins - 5 years, $25 million ($9 million guaranteed) 
Terrell McClain - DT- Washington Redskins - 4 years, $21 million ($11 million guaranteed) 
Lawrence Guy - DT - New England Patriots- 4 years, $20 million Earl Mitchell - DT- San Francisco 49ers - 4 years, $16 million ($6.5 million guaranteed)
Chris Baker - DE- Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 3 years, $15.75 million ($9 million guaranteed)
John Simon - DE - Indianapolis Colts - 3 years, $13.5 million
Akeem Spence - DT- Detroit Lions - 3 years, $10.5 million ($3.5 million guaranteed)
Jack Crawford - DE- Atlanta Falcons - 3 years, $10.3 million 
Cornelius Washington - DE- Detroit Lions - 2 years, $6 million
Sylvester Williams- DT - Tennessee Titans - 3 years, Terms TBA
Stephen Paea- DT- Dallas Cowboys- Terms TBA


Chandler Jones- Arizona Cardinals- 5 years, $82.5 million ($53 million guaranteed) Malcolm Smith - San Francisco 49ers - 5 years, $26.5 million ($11.5 million guaranteed)
A.J. Klein - New Orleans Saints - 4 years, $24 million ($9.4 million guaranteed) 
Lawrence Timmons - Miami Dolphins - 2 year, $12 million 
Lorenzo Alexander- Buffalo Bills - 2 year, $9 million
Josh Martin - New York Jets - 2 years, $4.3 million
Barkevious Mingo - Indianapolis Colts - 1 year, $2.5 million
Laroy Reynolds - Atlanta Falcons - 1 year, $1.3 million
Lerentee McCray - Jacksonville Jaguars - 1 year, $1 million

Juilius Peppers - Carolina Panthers - 1 year, Details TBA

Defensive Backs: 

A.J. Bouye - Jacksonville Jaguars - 5 years, $67.5 million ($26 million guaranteed) 
Tony Jefferson - Baltimore Ravens - 4 years, $36 million ($14 million guaranteed)
Logan Ryan - Tennessee Titans - 3 years, $30 million
Micah Hyde - Buffalo Bills - 5 years, $30 million ($14 million guaranteed) 
Captain Munnerlyn - Carolina Panthers - 4 years, $21 million
Quintin Demps - Chicago Bears - 3 years, $13.5 million 
D.J. Swearinger - Washington Redskins - 3 years, $13.5 million
Nolan Carroll - Dallas Cowboys - 3 years, $10 million
D.J. Hayden - Detroit Lions - 1 year, $5.25 million
Chris Conte - Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 2 years, $5 million ($2.5 million guaranteed) 
Brynden Trawick - Tennessee Titans - 2 years, $4.75 million ($3 million guaranteed) 
Nate Allen- Miami Dolphins - 1 year, $3.4 million
Antoine Bethea - Arizona Cardinals - 3 years, Terms TBA
Mike Adams- Carolina Panthers- 2 years, Terms TBA
JJ Wilcox- Tampa Bay Buccaneers- 2 years, Terms TBA

Special Teams: 

Jeff Locke - P - Indianapolis Colts - 2 years, $3.45 million ($1.25 million guaranteed) 
Phil Dawson- K - Arizona Cardinals - DETAILS TBA
Robbie Gould- K - San Francisco 49ers - DETAILS TBA
Steven Hauschka- K - Buffalo Bills - DETAILS TBA
Connor Barth- K - Chicago Bears - 1 year, Terms TBA
Chandler Catanzaro - K - New York Jets - Terms TBA

Other Notable Transactions

  • Houston Texans trade QB Brock Osweiler and 2018 Second Round Pick to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for a 2017 4th round pick. 
  • Los Angeles Rams trade DE William Hayes and a seventh round pick to Miami in exchange for the Dolphins' sixth round pick.
  • Dolphins officially acquire Julius Thomas from the Jaguars while sending their 2017 seventh round pick to Jacksonville.
  • Miami also trades Tackle Branden Albert to Jacksonville for a 2018 seventh round pick.
  • Redskins fire GM Scot McCloughan after two seasons, citing alcohol abuse as one of the main reasons for the departure.
  • Running Back Kenneth Dixon was officially suspended first four games of 2017 season for violation of PED policy.

  • The Indianapolis Colts have agreed to trade tight end Dwayne Allen to the New England Patriots. The Colts will also send a sixth-round pick to New England in exchange for a Patriots fourth-round pick.
  • The New England Patriots trade their 2017 1st/3rd round picks to the New Orleans Saints in exchange for WR Brandin Cooks and a 2017 4th rounder.
  • Carolina Panthers trade DE Kony Ealy and a 2017 3rd round pick to the New England Patriots in exchange for 2017 second round pick.

    • RT Doug Free of the Dallas Cowboys informs team that he will be retiring, leaving a hole at the tackle position for the reigning division champs. 

    Rumor Central

    • Many believe the riddance of Brock Osweiler signifies a landing spot for current Cowboys QB Tony Romo, who is now rumored to be traded after initial reports suggested he would be released. 
    • UPDATE: Reports say Denver and Houston, both favorites to land Romo, will stay put and hold off on trade negotiations with Dallas in order to force the Cowboys hand.

    • Sticking on the Osweiler train, the Cleveland Browns absorbed Brock's contract and feel confident they're in better position to land Patriots QB Jimmy Garappolo. The feeling is strong in Cleveland that Osweiler wont be on the roster come draft day. 
    UPDATE: ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that Jimmy Garappolo is virtually a lock to be a New England Patriot for the long haul, citing he is untouchable to the Patriots organization and will not be saught after in trade deals.
    • It's been a known fact that Kirk Cousins isn't the biggest fan of the Washington Redskins. In the recent days talks between the 49ers and Redskins about potentially shipping Kirk to be reunited with new HC Kyle Shanahan. Cousins supposedly asked Washington for a trade, but told it wasn't likely to happen. 
    UPDATE: Kirk Cousins signed a franchise tender on Friday morning, making him eligible to be traded, per multiple sources.
    • Early Friday morning, Jimmy Garappolo's instagram account posted a "goodbye" post that gave away the impression he was traded. NFL Insider Ian Rapoport confirmed this to be a hoax. 

    For immediate updates throughout free agency, follow Donnie Druin on Twitter @DonnieDruin