Mb Nfl Lock Of The Szn Pewter 728x90 Jpg

Why isn’t Colin Kaepernick a Buccaneer by now?

Tampa Bay could use a good new No. 2 quarterback now that former backup Mike Glennon, a third-round pick in 2013, has cashed in with a three-year contract worth $43.5 million to become Chicago’s starter in 2017.

Why not have Kaepernick suit up in red and pewter?

Surprisingly, Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter wasn’t asked that question at the NFL Owners Meeting in Phoenix, Ariz. It was on our minds at PewterReport.com, but our team was dispatched to the pro days at Florida, Florida State and Miami.

Kaepernick is coming off a season in which his supporters laud his 4:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio (16 TDs, 4 INTs) in 2016. His apologists point out the lack of talent on the 49ers roster over the past two years and how San Francisco receivers led the league in dropped passes in 2016 to make up for his 1-9 record as a starter last year, and his 2-6 record as a starter in 2015.

Former Bucs QB Mike Glennon – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

The pro-Kaepernick crowd is simply aghast at the fact that Glennon got a job making millions while their guy is still on the sidelines despite a 5-14 record in Tampa Bay as a starter. They point to the fact that while Glennon has a 2:1 TD-to-INT ratio in his career (30 TDs, 15 INTs), Kaepernick is the better quarterback with 72 touchdowns and just 30 interceptions over his career, in addition to 13 rushing scores.

Certainly much better stats, right?

But the problem is that Kaepernick’s experience actually works against him. Kaepernick has started 58 games while Glennon has just 17 starts in the league.

Less is best when it comes to backup quarterbacks getting paid handsomely, just ask Brock Osweiler and even Rob Johnson from back in the day. NFL teams are often teased by a young No. 2 quarterback that has a small sample size to the point where they think he could be second coming of notable former backups like Steve Young, Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady. That rarely happens.

Yet Kaepernick has a good resumé as he also helped guide the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 by tossing two touchdowns to help beat an Arizona Cardinals team of which Bucs general manager Jason Licht was the director of player personnel, 27-13, in the regular season finale. Two weeks later, Kaepernick threw for 263 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 181 yards and two scores to upset Green Bay at Lambeau Field, 45-31.

A week later in the NFC Championship Game at Atlanta where Koetter was the offensive coordinator, Kaepernick completed 76.2 percent of his passes for 233 yards and a touchdown in a 28-24 upset to reach Super Bowl XLVII. He performed admirably in a 34-31 defeat as the Baltimore Ravens held on to withstand a second-half rally by the 49ers. Kaepernick completed 57.1 percent of his passes for 302 yards with one touchdown and one interception, while rushing for 62 yards and a touchdown on seven carries in the biggest game of his young career.

49ers QB Colin Kaepernick - Photo by: Getty Images

Former 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick – Photo by: Getty Images

So why aren’t Koetter and Licht interested in Kap as Jameis Winston’s backup in Tampa Bay?

I haven’t had the opportunity to directly discuss the matter with either, but I’ve heard the Bucs are not interested in Kaepernick – at least at this point in time. Here’s what I surmise.

First of all, Kaepernick is just not the same guy as he was in 2012. He was benched halfway through the season in 2015 for Blaine Gabbert.

“He hasn’t played much, that’s the main thing,” Koetter said before playing against Kaepernick and San Francisco last year. “He’s playing in a little bit different system, although there’s some elements of the system that are the same, [former San Francisco Head Coach Jim Harbaugh’s] system and now Coach Kelly’s. We actually played in the game to go to the Super Bowl, we played him at the end of that season in Atlanta. It was a great game, we had a big lead, he brought them back and he was at the top of his profession, he was playing really good football. Like any player that doesn’t play for a while, it’s hard to come back and initially play up to that same level. Obviously, he’s got it in him. Once a player’s shown they can do it, they can do it again.”

Then the Bucs went out and beat Kaepernick and the 49ers, 34-17, coming back from an early 14-0 deficit. Tampa Bay’s defense held Kaepernick to a 47.1 percent completion percentage, 143 yards passing with one touchdown and one interception, while sacking him four times and causing two fumbles. It was not an impressive performance from a guy that is still looking for a chance to compete for a starting job somewhere and to be paid like it.

While Kaepernick shot down a report that he was seeking $9-10 million per year, he does want a shot at competing for a starting job. Keep in mind that instead of sticking around to compete for a starting job in San Francisco this year, Kaepernick opted out of his contract on March 2, forgoing a chance to earn $16.9 million in salary and bonuses.

Former 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick – Photo by: Getty Images

But that’s not what teams which have entrenched starters – like the Bucs do in Winston – ultimately want.

It’s one thing to have a desire to start. Even Glennon had that throughout his Bucs career. But Glennon also knew – and accepted – his role as a backup quarterback. That’s the team mentality that NFL coaches like Koetter want and demand from their players.

NFL Network’s Brian Billick spoke eloquently about this topic when discussing why Kaepernick is still unemployed recently on Good Morning Football. Billick noted the lack of developmental progress in the pocket that the 29-year old Kaepernick has made, in addition to his supposed resistance to coming in as strictly a backup quarterback to a team at this point in his career.

Billick also questioned Kaepernick’s focus and wondered if his desire to be a “big thinker” about social issues has hindered his love for the game as a football player.

Billick didn’t dismiss the controversy of Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the National Anthem last year while he spoke out against social injustice, but didn’t agree with the sentiment of some reporters who believe that Kaepernick is somehow getting blackballed by the NFL over that issue alone.

He’s not.

“In the NFL, you’ll do the Faustian deal with the devil if it will help you win. You really will.” Billick said. “This is business, man. If I think you can help us win we’ll deal with the other [stuff]. This is strictly business. They’ll make that deal.”

That’s true.

Like it or not, Kaepernick right now is considered to be only a No. 2 quarterback by the NFL – even if you or Kap disagree.

Now former Baltimore running back Ray Rice was actually blackballed by the league, but that’s because Rice slugged his wife, knocking her out in a casino elevator and the act was caught on camera.

Former 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick – Photo by: Getty Images

Kaepernick’s supposed offense wasn’t criminal. He simply didn’t stand for the Star-Spangled Banner, which did tick off a lot of NFL fans in Tampa Bay and across the country, including yours truly, who thought that Kaepernick’s decision was disrespectful to the flag and our country.

I thought it was the wrong way to protest and it ended up being a divisive act that turned a great many people against him as a result because of the patriotic nature of standing for the National Anthem. Instead of rallying to Kaepernick’s cause his actions turned many away.

I’m not here to rehash that argument, but it should be noted that Koetter, who is one of 32 employers in the NFL, has gone on record and said that he doesn’t agree with not standing for the National Anthem.

The Buccaneers organization and Pro Bowl receiver Mike Evans received an incredible amount of backlash from fans and ticket holders when Evans didn’t stand for the Star-Spangled Banner for one game, which happened to be Military Salute To Service game against Chicago – with MacDill Air Force base just done Dale Mabry Highway.

The Bucs don’t want to go through that again, and although Kaepernick said he will stand for the National Anthem this year, what if he decides to change his mind halfway through the season if another social issue arises that he wants to protest or draw attention to?

He has the right to change his mind – just like he had the right to protest in the first place.

That’s a potential controversy the Bucs simply want to avoid.

The Undefeated’s Bomani Jones is one of the more outspoken members of the media in support of Kaepernick and wrote a column titled “Colin Kaepernick is called a distraction, but from what?” this week. He believes that the former 49ers star is being blackballed due to his race and stance on social issues, but somehow doesn’t believe he’d be a distraction to another team.
“It’s imperative to cut through the noise surrounding Colin Kaepernick’s current unemployment, and nothing is noisier than the idea that NFL teams will not sign Kaepernick because he is a “distraction.” It’s football’s laziest cliché, a catchall for anything or anyone a team might not like.”

Former 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick – Photo by: Getty Images

Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh, the brother of Kaepernick’s former head coach, Jim Harbaugh, fired back at the NFL Owners Meeting over the notion that Kaepernick is being blackballed, saying it was “stupid” and “intellectually lazy” to think that’s what is happening.

Jones continues:

“That’s a problem for the distraction truthers. There’s no evidence Kap’s presence made the 49ers worse. Was the locker room divided along fissures of race and politics? Would they have won four games had he stood for the anthem every game?”

Well, it’s obvious the 49ers certainly didn’t get any better the last two years with Kaepernick, either.

San Francisco went 5-11 in 2015 and got Jim Tomsula fired before going 2-14 last year, which got Chip Kelly fired. Both of the 49ers’ two wins in 2016 came against the 4-12 Los Angeles Rams.

Jones is quick to point out the cushy 16 touchdowns and only four interceptions stat from last year, but he fails to mention that Kap was benched in favor of Gabbert in the fourth quarter of an embarrassing 26-6 loss at Chicago, a team that went 3-13 last year, in Week 13.

Kaepernick was 1-of-5 for four yards through three quarters versus the Bears.

Four yards.

He was sacked five times by Chicago.

I’ve never heard of a starting quarterback having fewer passing yards than sacks in a football game – at any level – before.

That’s bad film, and I did have a member of the Bucs organization tell me that Kaepernick still struggles to read defenses, hangs on to the ball too long and takes too many sacks as a result.

It’s not a crime that Kaepernick remains unsigned right now, folks.

It’s … the end of March.

Football season doesn’t start for five more months.

The guess here is that he’ll be on a roster by August – September by the latest. Once he realizes he’s a backup at this point in his career and accepts a contract that reflects that while promising a team that he won’t be a distraction.

What I want to know is why isn’t anyone throwing a tantrum that Jay Cutler, Case Keenum and Gabbert haven’t been signed by now?

I kid, but that does put a dent in the supposed racism argument. It’s not like Kap is the last unsigned backup QB.

What is a crime is all of the attention that has been paid to this topic over a fallen star whose game is in decline, and who chose to speak out on a social justice issue in a controversial way, which are equal parts of the reason he’s unemployed.

Former 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick – Photo by: Getty Images

Jones, who also wrote a column for The Undefeated titled “Kaepernick is asking for justice, not peace,” even unwittingly foreshadowed would happen to him in a piece he wrote back in August of last year.

“This is what a stand looks like. For better or worse, stands that demand people come together rarely have that effect. And contrary to popular belief, stands do not create divisions and fissures. They amplify them. The whole point of a stand is to put them on display, to ask the world to confront and examine their hypocrisies and ask why they’re on one side and not the other. Protests that don’t offend aren’t worth the effort. The ones that do are the ones that can change the world.”

Kaepernick’s stand did amplify divisions and offend, but they had some unintended consequences he’s paying for right now. For every action there is a reaction, and sometimes it’s negative.

It would be different if Kap was a Pro Bowl quarterback, but he’s not. Kaepernick offended a lot of NFL fans with his actions, and some owners don’t want any part of a potential backlash their team might face that could hurt ticket sales.

I don’t think it’s necessarily Kaepernick’s stance on social justice so much as it is about how some viewed him disrespecting the flag, especially in a military town like Tampa that would not make the Bucs the right fit. But remove any suspicion of racism when it comes to Tampa Bay.

The Buccaneers are the only NFL franchise that has drafted three African-American quarterbacks in the first round (Doug Williams in 1978, Josh Freeman in 2009 and Winston in 2015) and the only franchise to have three African-American head coaches in Tony Dungy (1996-2001), Raheem Morris (2009-11) and Lovie Smith (2014-15). Dungy’s hiring was so significant because he not only turned the Buccaneers around, he later went on to become the league’s first black head coach to win the Super Bowl with Indianapolis, and also to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Glazers didn’t draft Williams, but hired him to work in the Bucs’ front office in the Jon Gruden era. They also drafted Freeman and Winston, and hired Dungy – the team’s first black head coach – Morris and Smith, so take any hint of racism out of the equation when it comes to the Glazers.

Bucs QB Jameis Winston and former head coach Lovie Smith – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

No other NFL franchise has a stronger track record when it comes to equal opportunity at the two most important positions on a football team – head coach and quarterback – than the Glazers’ Buccaneers.

I’ll remind you that that the Cowboys, Giants, Rams, Seahawks, Panthers, Saints, Texans, Titans, Ravens and Patriots have never hired an African-American head coach, and that the Redskins (Terry Robiskie, 2000), Falcons (Emmitt Thomas, 2007), Bills (Perry Fewell, 2009), Broncos (Eric Studesville, 2010), Dolphins (Todd Bowles, 2011) and Jaguars (Mel Tucker, 2011) have had black interim head coaches, but not one as a full-time head coach.

The Bucs have had three.

NFL owners don’t want anything to hurt season ticket sales, which is the team’s prime form of income aside from the TV contract revenue. Expectations are high right now in Tampa Bay, and Raymond James Stadium hasn’t had regular sellouts in many, many years. The Glazers don’t want to do anything that might alienate fans.

General managers like Licht don’t want a backup QB that wants starting-caliber money and wants a shot at competing for a starting job. That’s part of the reason why Chase Daniel, who made $7 million last year as the league’s highest-paid backup QB in Philadelphia, was unsigned for nearly a month until he lowered his contract demands. He just signed a one-year deal with the Saints.

Head coaches like Koetter definitely do not want a backup QB that could make headlines. And given his outspokenness last year, Kaepernick would be the go-to guy for a comment from national reporters and local reporters about the next social justice issue that makes national news.

There are reasons why Tim Tebow didn’t last as a backup in the NFL. He wasn’t a good quarterback to begin with, and he was a distraction from a media standpoint due to his outspokenness and teams didn’t want to deal with that coming from a backup quarterback.

Make no mistake – Kaepernick is a much better quarterback than Tebow. But he’s a distraction nonetheless – no matter what Jones may think.

That’s the kind of distraction that Koetter and most other NFL head coaches want to avoid because it doesn’t do anything to help the team win. And if you have spent any time around Koetter you’d know that he’s all about winning. That’s it.

Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Koetter would cancel daily press conferences and briefings if he could and spend that time watching film or meeting with players and coaches instead. He understands the important role the media plays in creating interest in the game he coaches, but Koetter has said that talking to the press does nothing to help the team win, and he’s right. That’s a fact.

Backup quarterbacks are supposed to prepare like a starter, keep their mouths shut, and hold the clipboard. With the prospects of the Buccaneers being the featured training camp team on Hard Knocks this year being pretty good, the controversy surrounding Kaepernick and all of the national media attention that would come from him being on that show would be a ratings bonanza for HBO.

I think the Bucs would want ZERO part of that.

They wouldn’t want a backup quarterback being one of the main storylines on Hard Knocks in training camp nor would they want a potential distraction throughout the regular season.

Kaepernick seems like a good guy and he should be applauded for putting his money where his mouth is and contributing quite a bit of money to the causes and charities he supports. He will sign somewhere before the 2017 regular season, and Kap might be one of those guys that turn his career around at his next stop.

It just won’t be in Tampa Bay.

Share On Socials

About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: sr@pewterreport.com
Subscribe
Notify of
37 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Garv
4 years ago

“I think the Bucs would want ZERO part of that.”
That’s why. Not a good fit (style of play, system), major distraction, wants to start…..
I too think the Bucs want ZERO part of that.

fredster
4 years ago

Can’t stand him. He’s an idiot no distractions please. His game sucks last few years too.

Naplesfan
4 years ago

I guess I don’t care one way or the other about Kaepernick … certainly not a fan.

The Bucs will be far better off drafting a QB on Day 3 to develop as a backup. There should be some decent talent available for that purpose.

BigSombrero
4 years ago

Beautifully composed explanation SR!

BigSombrero
Reply to  BucWild02
4 years ago

I must admit that when I read your headline, I literally screamed, “NOOOOOOOOOOOO!” lol.

e
e
4 years ago

Ahh… Just got my morning coffee, I suppose I could use some thumbs down to go with it. I’d like to see the signing. He’s a young Superbowl QB that still has a lot to offer on the field. He’s not going to be participating in any of the protests that brought so much heat down him and finally, he has been giving a lot of money to charity. Yes, it could all be to rehabilitate his image, but he’s putting his money where his mouth is. If it’s a no-risk, short-term, relatively small contract, I’d go for it. Yes,… Read more »

Brandonges
Reply to  e
4 years ago

The thumbs down is the worst thing to happen to PR.

Enjoy your coffee

BigSombrero
Reply to  e
4 years ago

Sean Renfree and Ryan Griffin are under contract. The Bucs are high on both of them and they are both young 4th year players. I don’t see the Bucs drafting anyone, nor bringing in a high priced free agent QB, especially one who wants to start and be paid like a starter. Glennon was the only person that gets that chance as he was drafted by the Bucs and had been a very solid teammate. As far as the Carr injury goes, it was bad timing and that is life in the NFL. Tom Brady, Ben Rothlisberger, Carson Palmer, Andrew… Read more »

nybuccguy
Reply to  e
4 years ago

Kaep and Cutler are both garbage and cancers to a team. I think I would rather have Cutler though, atleast he has a cannon for an arm. There are better options than both in FA and the draft.

seat26
Reply to  e
4 years ago

Actually I agree with you. If it is for the right money, I say take him. He has talent and who cares if he protests. Only snowflakes get offended by that nonsense. It is just a back up. And what we got now will not do it, and whatever we draft in the later rounds will be no more ready to go into a game than what we have right now.

bueller
4 years ago

Kaepernick wants to start and wants $8-10 million per year. That’s why he isn’t a Buc or on any other team. He’ll wait to see if there is an injury somewhere, and may or may not have a job in the league this year.

Horse
4 years ago

Our country is already divided in the political world, but pretty much united when it comes to watching football. Can we please just not bring in anyone who wants to make a political statement about our country in our stadium. Go Bucs!

jme0151
4 years ago

Please….NO!!!!!!

Brandonges
4 years ago

I would be in favor of the Bucs signing Kaep in a few months once his asking price goes down and he realizes the won’t be anything more than a backup. I was never a big fan of his when Jaws was saying he could be one of the greats, but as it stands now he’s probably among the best 30-40 QBs in the league. That makes him a very solid backup option. If Winston goes down for any time, this team is done with their current backups. Colin could probably keep the ship afloat for a little while. Additionally,… Read more »

cobraboy
4 years ago

No.

No.

No.

I enjoy football to get away from the political BS.

The fastest way to dampen my enthusiasm for the Bucs is to sign this guy. He is a cancer to America and has shown *zero* remorse. At least Evens copped a public apology.

Brobear
Reply to  cobraboy
4 years ago

He doesn’t need to show remorse. He’s putting his money where his mouth is and is trying to help the problems he wanted to bring attention to. He is also not a cancer to anything. He exercised his rights as an American. The backlash came from people like you overreacting.

That said, definitely not worth it to sign him.

cobraboy
Reply to  Brobear
4 years ago

Overreacting? Hardly. He disrespected military and law enforcement based on lies.

toofamiliar17
Reply to  cobraboy
4 years ago

Neither of those is particularly true.

Brobear
Reply to  cobraboy
4 years ago

Lies? Yeah racial discrimination in this country is very real whether you experience it or not. It is not lies.

drdneast
4 years ago

You pretty much nailed it Garv, Kapernicks style of play doesn’t mesh with the Bucs offensive system. I could care a less about his politics, if I thought he could help this team get to the playoffs he could burn flags i front of RJ Stadium for all I care. But the fact of the matter his play has regressed over the last two years and I believe it’s because defensive coordinators have figured out how to play him and what confuses him. You would have thought Chip Kelly’s read option would have been perfect for him but he couldn’t… Read more »

scubog
Reply to  drdneast
4 years ago

Good points Dr. D but I suspect your view of the Link from Mod Squad lookalike would deteriorate if he came to a press conference sporting a Make America Great hat.

surferdudes
4 years ago

Should have sent a reporter to the league meetings Scott. Other sites got a lot of good information by having interviews with, Koetter, Licht, and even the Glazers. What did you gleam from local pro days? How many 40’s can they run, and how high they jump was covered last month at the combine. Yeah asking Koetter, or licht about Kap would’ve been a great question. Should’ve been there to ask it.

toofamiliar17
Reply to  surferdudes
4 years ago

I would have given you a thumbs up, but now you just kinda look like a jerk when it turns out it was a budget issue, lol. So I had to jump to the thumbs down. Tough breaks! lol

Naplesfan
Reply to  Scott Reynolds
4 years ago

Scott – here’s a suggestion … get rid of the thumbs up and thumbs down feature … just let the comments stand as they are written, readers can make up their own minds, and if another commenter wants to take issue with a given comment, they can. The thumbs up/down feature serves mainly for some commenters to fish for thumbs up, and lets those excercising their thumbs give down thumbs mainly just because they have a different opinion. It also likely discourages posting opinions that are likely to be unpopular … that’s just great, let’s just homogenize all opinions expressed,… Read more »

Buc 1976
Reply to  Scott Reynolds
4 years ago

Scott for every action their is a reaction!
Our first amendment freedom of speach,but it does not mean everyone will support someone that disrespect s our VETERANS!

stlbucsfan
4 years ago

Against this signing due solely to the fact that he doesnt fit in our scheme. If we had Tennessee Titans style offense then it would make more sense. I hope they look mid-late round at Chad Kelly, Ole Miss, I think he has the arm to fit and is a gunslinger that could have some value down the road if he develops.

cgmaster27
4 years ago

Hell no on this. Kap is not only a distraction, he’s just not good. Weather you believe in his political stance or not, if this guy was any good, he’d have a team. Of course the media driven race machine is going to base it on his skin color and such, but if he could play, he would be signed period. Personally I think he’s a tool, after saying he would stand for the anthem this year after a team signed him, he lost all credibility with me. Not that he had much to begin with.

Paul
4 years ago

At the end of the day, he is simply not what we need as a backup.

Clearwater Buc
Clearwater Buc
4 years ago

Great article, Scott!

magoobee
4 years ago

If a team wants an inaccurate passer that can run, just draft Patrick Mahomes. That way they pay 10x less for basically the same QB.

abucsfan
4 years ago

Hell no, I’ll puke if they sign him and call it a day with the Bucs and I’ve been a Bucs fan since 1978!

toofamiliar17
4 years ago

For what it’s worth (which probably isn’t much), I really like this piece, Scott. Thank you for (mostly) not using it to make statements regarding your personal views. As for Kaep, I don’t blame NFL teams for not wanting to sign him as a result of the protest stuff. Not because I agree with that take, but because the bottom line is what matters most to all of these guys. No, if anyone is to blame here, it’s NFL fans. Hear me out. As wrong as it is, several teams with players who actively protested last year got MAJOR backlash,… Read more »

scubog
4 years ago

I’d be more concerned about his declining play from his early years when he looked like a future star so much so that he cashed in big time. We all remember how Josh Freeman quickly flushed his career down the toilet after starting out so promising. Perhaps Collin can resurrect his once lofty standing in the league but he also might just continue his downward spiral. I just think there are better options for the Bucs. Few of us really know much about our current back-up QB’s Renfree and Griffin so I’ll defer to Licht and Koetter to determine whether… Read more »

Sierra119
4 years ago

The simple fact is that owners pay players for performing. He wasn’t, plain and simple. He was a backup before his political statement. If any owner doesn’t want to pay him, that’s their choice. You can speculate and spin it any way you want, but the bottom line is he put himself in this position.

Mb Nfl Lock Of The Szn Pewter 728x90 Jpg