Controversial Colin Kaepernick Almost Played for This NFL Team
Many quarterback injuries led the Redskins to consider the anthem-kneeling ex-player — here's why they didn't
The Washington Redskins gave it some thought — but Colin Kaepernick will not be suiting up for them.
Decimated by injuries to many of their quarterbacks, the Redskins have seen their playoff hopes fade. They are now 6-6 and on a three-game losing streak after starting the season at 6-3 — their best start to a season since 2008.
Since then, however, injuries to the team’s initial starter, Alex Smith, and his backup, Colt McCoy, have set the team back.
With the quarterback market pretty thin, the team opted for former New York Jets starting quarterback Mark Sanchez to back up McCoy when Smith got hurt last month.
Then, with McCoy’s injury this past Sunday, the team signed fleet-footed journeyman Josh Johnson, making them the 12th NFL team to employ him.
That said, one might wonder: Did Colin Kaepernick’s name come up at all?
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said it did, as NFL.com reported.
“He’s been discussed for sure,” Gruden said. “It’s just going to be a matter of which way you want to go.”
Gruden said the decision was not based on Kaepernick’s kneeling for the national anthem during the 2016 season.
“Just football, strictly football,” Gruden said. “When you’re talking about a backup quarterback this late in the game, you want someone with a similar skill set to the quarterback you have. Not that Colin can’t do some of the things we’ve talked about, but we want someone with a little more familiarity.”
“[Mark] Sanchez had experience in a pro-style offense,” he added.
“That helped out a lot. But when we had a short week going to Dallas [on Thanksgiving], you had to have someone in here who had some similar conceptual awareness that we had with Colt [McCoy]. That’s why we went with Sanchez.”
Whether or not Gruden acknowledges it, the decision to stay away from Kaepernick will likely help the team’s standing with fans.
After all, Kaepernick’s starting of the NFL national anthem protests was the top reason for the league’s 17-point drop in television ratings over the span of two years (2016 and 2017), according to a JD Power poll.
An increased presence of national anthem protesters in the NFL then caused the league’s favorability ratings to drop from 57 percent in August 2017 to 44 percent in September of the same year, according to a study conducted by The Winston Group.
Plus, Kaepernick was not the player the Redskins needed to save their playoff hopes, when he himself was a well below-average starting quarterback the last time he played two seasons ago.
His quarterback rating (49.3) ranked 23rd among 30 qualified quarterbacks; and his nine fumbles in 11 starts were problematic. The San Francisco 49ers went 1-10 in games he started in 2016.
In all likelihood, the person to save the Redskins this year would not be available in the free-agent market this late in the season.
However, by staying away from Kaepernick, at least the Redskins can avoid alienating more fans.
For more on Colin Kaepernick, check out the video below:
Tom Joyce is a freelance writer from the South Shore of Massachusetts. He covers sports, pop culture, and politics and has contributed to The Federalist, Newsday, and other outlets.