Colin Kaepernick has been tied to the LA Chargers.
Right now, the LA Chargers are currently undergoing a transition at the quarterback position. After a decade and a half, someone without the name ‘Rivers’ on the back of their jersey is going to be starting under center.
Tyrod Taylor is currently slated to be the team’s starting quarterback with sixth overall pick Justin Herbert getting at least one season to learn and adapt to the NFL. If all goes as planned, Herbert should not see a meaningful snap during the 2020 season.
The Chargers have been tied to another quarterback, however, who is not named Cam Newton (someone that readers of my articles know that I am pretty high on). Instead, the LA Chargers have been tied to former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick.
ESPN’s Jeremey Fowler said on SportsCenter on Saturday that the Chargers are one of several teams that have ties to Kaepernick. The Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars and Washington Redskins were also named as potential fits (h/t Jason B. Hirschhorn, SI).
Kaepernick is a polarizing player because of his National Anthem protests during the 2017 season that is now back in the spotlight with the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests throughout the country.
When it comes to the LA Chargers, I ask the same question that I would ask literally any other NFL team in the league…
Why shouldn’t the LA Chargers sign Colin Kaepernick?
Before we get into the football breakdown of why a flier on Kaepernick makes sense, let’s look at the non-football factors that could keep some football fans from not wanting to see Kaepernick play for the Chargers.
As a citizen of the United States, Kaepernick absolutely has the right to peacefully protest. NFL teams also have the right to not want to sign Kaepernick, but at this point, it seems like teams are finally realizing that he brings something to the table and the fact that he is not in the league is silly.
The argument against Kaepernick seems to be that a team would not want to take on any potential negative publicity for someone who would probably be a backup, especially on the Chargers.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but it should not be a polarizing issue to want equality. I do not want the LA Chargers to sign Kaepernick just to look good in the public light, though. I want them to take a flier on him because he is a talented quarterback who can offer something to the team.
So take a flier on him. While he was not the same quarterback as he was when he was in his prime, Kaepernick was still an average quarterback at worst during his final playing days and would be a very over-qualified backup that would serve two purposes.
First, it would give the team another backup option in case Taylor gets hurt and they do not want to throw Herbert to the wolves (which is a good thing). Second, he can serve as another mentor for Herbert, as Kaepernick has Super Bowl experience.
We won’t know how good he could be until he is given a chance. If he is brought in and is no longer an up-to-speed quarterback in the preseason then there would be nothing wrong with putting him on the practice squad. However, there is just as likely of a chance that he plays well, and earns that true backup spot.
This would give the Chargers four quarterbacks in the quarterbacks room, which is a lot but is manageable with an expanded 55-man gameday roster. This added depth could also mean the Chargers could use Easton Stick in a Taysom Hill-like role, which is something I have personally been advocating for.
As someone who wants the LA Chargers to sign Cam Newton because of his potential ceiling, I cannot sit back and not say the same things about Colin Kaepernick. If the team can make itself better and deeper for a relatively low cost then they should do it, 10 times out of 10.
If it does not work out then it does not work out, at least they gave him a shot and they tried it (the same can be said with Newton).
If it does work out then the LA Chargers not only deepen their quarterbacks room to help in 2020 and beyond with Herbert, but they would send a powerful statement as well.