Williamson | Johnny Manziel could change Colin Kaepernick’s outlook

13 December 2015: Cleveland Browns Quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) [11119] in action during a NFL game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium, in Cleveland, OH. (Photo By Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)
(Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

Frankly, I don’t feel sorry for Colin Kaepernick.

My stance has been this: If a team thought he was a clear-cut starting quarterback, he would be signed. But as a backup, the distraction factor comes into play. Teams can deal with their starter having some baggage. They, however, cannot tolerate backups being a distraction. Backups are supposed to be seen-not-heard types. Last week, at his press conference at the American Century golf tournament in South Lake Tahoe, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and new CBS analyst Tony Romo basically said the same thing.

Kaepernick, of course, remains unsigned as a free agent, an offseason after he sat or took a knee during the National Anthem for the entire 2016 season.

My take is not about whether Kaepernick’s civil stance is right or wrong or whether the fact that teams are shunning him is right or wrong. It’s simply a case of supply and demand. There is no demand for the supply Kaepernick is offering.

It was his right to take his stance and it’s the right of NFL teams to not sign him if they choose.

So, that’s my Kaepernick take.

However, one thing could happen to make that change – if Johnny Manziel is back in the NFL before Kaepernick is.

That would change it all.

Manziel said during the weekend that he has been in contact with NFL teams about a potential comeback and he is hopeful he will sign with a team at some point. Manziel, a first-round pick by Cleveland, torpedoed his career with non-stop partying and legal trouble. He’s been out of the league for a year.

It would be beyond ridiculous if Manziel finds NFL work before Kaepernick does. Why?

It’s pretty simple: Kaepernick has been a better player. While NFL defenses caught up to the read-option offense Kaepernick excelled in four years ago, he has had success and he has experience. Manziel never had much success and his skill set and inactivity don’t suggest he has a real chance to succeed.

Neither Kaepernick nor Manziel has the look of an NFL starter anytime soon. Both would be backups. But signing Manziel would create the same issues as signing Kaepernick. There would be big potential for him being a distraction.

Manziel has never proven he can stay out of the limelight and headlines while in an NFL uniform. Any team that signed him would be asking for trouble.

The NFL would be setting itself up for a major embarrassment if Manziel is wearing an NFL helmet before Kaepernick does. Many people would argue that it is already embarrassing that Kaepernick is not in the league because he is deserving of a roster spot, talent speaking. Of course, there have been “blackball” claims by some.

At this point, I think it’s just 32 teams choosing not to take the baggage that Kaepernick brings. But if one of those teams decides to sign that hot mess that has been Manziel, then it will be a sign that the league will sign virtually anyone other than Kaepernick.

There are a lot of people who aren’t very happy with the NFL because Kaepernick isn’t in the league yet. I’m not there. Not yet. But the moment Mr. Johnny Football signs on the dotted line and Kaepernick is still on the street looking for a job, I’ll join that cause.

I have nothing against Manziel and wouldn’t begrudge him if he gets another chance. But there’s just no way Manziel deserves that second chance before Kaepernick is signed.


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