South Lake Tahoe, Calif. –– Super Bowl-winning quarterback Joe Theismann sat in the idyllic setting of the American Century Celebrity Golf Tournament after a round of golf Tuesday and discussed several of the NFL’s most interesting quarterbacks currently playing (and not playing).
As usual, the colorful, affable longtime broadcaster had plenty to say.
Theismann isn’t sure if any team will sign Colin Kaepernick after his civil protest last year. Theismann doesn’t think any team will give Robert Griffin III a chance because of injuries. He is hopeful the Washington Redskins will sign Kirk Cousins to a big-dollar deal in the next six days.
On Kaepernick: Theismann said he doesn’t believe NFL owners are comfortable dealing with the public backlash that would come with signing Kaepernick. The former San Francisco 49er quarterback sat or took a knee during the National Anthem before games last season. It has been reported that Kaepernick, a free agent, is going to stand for the anthem this year; however, there has been virtually no interest in him. It has been speculated that the only way Kaepernick will get a job is if a quarterback gets injured in training camp or in a game. Yet, Theismann said he isn’t so sure.
“Talent wise, he is one of the best 90 quarterbacks in the NFL,” Theismann said. “But he learned how sacred the flag is to everybody.”
Theismann said he didn’t necessarily believe there is an organized blackballing of Kaepernick going on among team owners, but he thinks they all feel the same way about the idea of having Kaepernick on their team.
On Griffin: RG3 is also a free agent who is not getting interest, but it’s because of injuries, Theismann said. The former Washington starter, who was with Cleveland last season, has battled numerous injuries in his career.
“Injuries robbed Robert of a chance to develop,” Theismann said. “He can’t throw in the pocket. Any quarterback who can’t throw in the pocket can’t play in the National Football League. That’s what we are seeing with Robert. I don’t see any team trying to develop him as a pocket passer at this point.”
On Cousins: The Redskins’ former star quarterback is keeping a close eye on Cousins. The deadline for franchised player to get a new deal done is Monday. If the Redskins and Cousins don’t strike a deal by then, he can’t sign a long-term deal this year. If a long-term deal isn’t completed early next offseason, Cousins could leave in free agency because the Redskins would have to pay him well over $30 million next year due to escalation in salary each year a player is franchised consecutively.
“That’s economically impossible,” Theismann said. “If Kirk isn’t signed by Monday, I think he may be gone… It’s the worst secret in America that San Francisco (and new coach) Kyle Shanahan are waiting for him.”
Theismann believes Cousins is a worth a big-dollar contract and thinks Cousins is underrated. He said Cousins is a “top 10-12” quarterback.
“I hope we sign him,” Theismann said.
On Tom Brady: “The best ever,” Theismann said. “As simple as that. The best ever.”
Theismann thinks Brady has “two to three” seasons left in his tank. Brady turns 40 next month.
“He looks as good as ever,” Theismann said.
On Derek Carr: He just signed a five-year, $125 million deal with the Oakland Raiders. Theismann thinks he’s worth it. Theismann likes that Carr plays “aggressively” but not “foolishly.”
Theismann said Carr was a “gunslinger” in 2014 when he started as a second-round pick. Theismann gives Carr credit for quickly developing a strong rapport with his teammates on the field. Theismann loves the way Carr directs his teammates when it counts.
On Philip Rivers: Asked to name any quarterback he is most curious to watch this season, Theismann picked the Los Angeles Chargers’ quarterback. Rivers will be 36.
Theismann thinks Rivers is a Hall of Fame player, but that the years of not having a very good offensive line may be wearing on him. He said he is very interested to see how Rivers plays in his 14th NFL season.
On Eli Manning: Theismann said Manning could be nearing the end. Many scouts didn’t like what they saw from Manning in 2016. Theismann says Manning probably doesn’t get enough credit for the two Super Bowl rings he won, but he has seen him slip.
With the addition of Brandon Marshall, Theismann thinks the Giants have a top-three receiver crew this season. If Manning continues to decline, Theismann said it may be time for the Giants to start thinking about their post-Manning life.
“This is a big year for Eli,” Theismann said.