Colin Kaepernick Make Sense for Browns?

How Colin Kaepernick could make sense for the Browns.

Let me get these things out of the way quickly so we can get going on the point of this article:

  • None of this article will have anything to do with him kneeling.
  • I assume all of you, on either side, have given your opinions on that matter over the past year.
  • For this article, and, hopefully, in the Forum to follow, those things do not matter.
  • This article was not written for any "click bait" reasons.
  • The goal is to only focus on Colin Kaepernick possibly playing football for the Cleveland Browns.

Now that those are out of the way, could the Cleveland Browns sign Colin Kaepernick to compete for their starting QB position?

For me, this starts with last year. Kaepernick was one of the QBs that were linked to Hue Jackson prior to the signing of Robert Griffin III. I wrote about why I liked RG3 better at that time.

Even before that, before Mike Pettine was fired, Jackson was hired and this regime took over, I processed former "Franchise Guys" RG3, Kaep & Johnny Manziel for the Browns.

Since then, RG3 showed he can't stay healthy, once again and remains unsigned after the Browns cut him.. (Though I don't think the door to him returning to Cleveland is closed and locked). 

Manziel is out of the league with little hope of returning.

Kaepernick is also unsigned after a so-so season with Chip Kelly in San Fran which led to a complete turnover after only 1 season of Kelly.

I started processing Kaep to the Browns after a quick tweet engagement with Ben Allbright. I consider Ben a quality sports reporter who has broken a number of stories. He and I also regularly engage in conversations on Twitter.

Ben wondered about Kaep to the Browns, I responded and he lit my curiosity with his response:

I still stand steadfast in my desire to not do anything to take away from DeShone Kizer's development. Practice reps are vital as is the attention he will receive from QB Coach David Lee and HC Hue Jackson.

Yet, this would be true no matter what QB we are talking about. Kizer's future could decide this regime's and the team's future and nothing should get in the way of that development.

On the other hand, I'm squarely in the camp that, for QBs only, live game reps can be the worse thing for them. Change is difficult in real time. For most people, a certain amount of time and experience practicing new ways of doing things is far more helpful.

I believe that Kizer can only be helped by sitting for at least a full season. Outside of Deshaun Watson types, there are few QBs I don't believe this is true for. Even the Cam NewtonAndrew Luck's of the world could have benefitted from sitting a year.

Doesn't HAVE to happen but it could greatly benefit Kizer.

That brings us back to Kaepernick.

At this point, in Year 2, the Browns need to start showing some development on the field. The goal isn't to get the #1 pick anymore but to start competing on the field. A certain number of wins doesn't matter, being competitive in most games does.

Kaep could help with that.

The Browns have bolstered their offensive line, back to one of the best in the game, have a solid 1-2 punch at running back, have dynamic tight ends and a solid, young wide receiver group who can do a little of everything.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Browns have solidified a very good and very young front. With Myles Garrett joining Emmanuel Ogbah rushing the passer and Larry Ogunjobi joining Danny Shelton in the middle of the line and Jamie Collins and Christian Kirksey taking care of the second level, the defense has a lot to work with.

The secondary added Jabrill Peppers but still have many concerned that they don't have enough to shut down the pass. This could lead the Browns to need to score quickly at times to try to keep up with opponents.

On the field, choosing between today's starter Cody Kessler, veteran contract Brock Osweiler and Kaepernick, the decision seems simple.

Kessler struggled with the speed of the game last year, dealt with concussions and is no longer the team's young developmental QB (Kizer is). His value seems as a long-term backup that could develop strength as he grows and could succeed in short spans.

Osweiler is the opposite of accurate. His time in Denver was underwhelming while the Texans paid a big price just to get rid of him. Nothing about his game seems to fit Hue Jackson's offense or desires for the position.

It is Osweiler that I think could be the key to a decision with Kaep. The Browns have attempted to deal the tall QB since acquiring him with the 2018 2nd Round pick. Signing Kaep now would further limit their leverage in trade talks with very little benefit to the team.

If/when the Browns get rid of Osweiler, Kaepernick becomes an option.

On the field, Kaep doesn't play a style that I love. He is less of a rhythm passer and more of a "make something happen" passer. If his first or second options are not open, or won't get him big yardage, Kaep likes to try to make something happen. He can extend plays with his legs, allowing time for his receivers to get open, or take off running down the field.

But is he good? 

In the year that the Niners went to the Super Bowl with Kaepernick, he was buoyed by a very good defense and had RB Frank Gore, WRs Michael CrabtreeTed Ginn Jr. & Randy Moss along with tight ends Delanie Walker and Vernon Davis. He also had a very good offensive line.

Kaep, like Matt RyanAndy DaltonEli Manning and Joe Flacco, is very dependent on the weapons around him. Those weapons allowed his legs to be huge weapons when things broke down.

Without those weapons, almost all of the talent was off the roster a year or two after their Super Bowl run, Kaep isn't in the Newton, Luck, Drew BreesTom Brady category where he could carry the team.

The Niners talent level was often considered the worst in the league over the last two season. Yes, even worse than the Browns.

Kaep is not able to carry a team but is he good?

Former NFL'er Stephen White had some thoughts about Kaep's season last year, which Arif got a good screenshot of, which you may have to blow up to see well (Pardon the curse word at the beginning):

Many others believe the same thing, Kaep played okay to good while being surrounded by castoffs, dealing with Kelly's new system and returning from a number of surgeries. Kelly's desire for quick decisions would actually be helpful in Jackson's system with the Browns.

On the field, Kaepernick could benefit from all the talent the Browns have added to their offense the last two years. The offensive line and run game could take the pressure off of him to have to win and the speed and diversity of the weapons could give him big strike ability in the play action game.

In the locker room, Kaepernick was given the Niners most prestigious teammate award:

The quarterback was named the winner of the team's Len Eshmont award on Friday, which is the most prestigious team award that the 49ers hand out each season. The award was voted on by San Francisco players and is given to the 49er who "best exemplifies the inspirational and courageous play of Len Eshmont," according to the team's website.

Should the Browns sign Kaepernick? On the field and in the locker room, the answer is yes. He is better than their current roster of QBs, has been a leader for his teams and has a skill set that could fit in nicely. If/when the Browns get rid of Osweiler, Kaep could slide in to compete with Kessler while allowing Kizer time to develop at his own speed.

Worst case scenario, Kaep flames out and Kessler starts while Kizer sits for a few games.

Best case scenario, Kaep shows what he can do with a decent roster, gives Kizer time to develop while the team starts to win some games. Going from no QBs to having 2 would be a big shot in the arm for the Browns. That is a problem worth having.

Will the Browns? Starting at the Combine and still to this day, I've heard the idea of Kaep to the Browns as a possibility and sometimes a likely outcome. Besides that, we haven't heard much but that seems to be the way this Front Office seems to like to work.

They also don't seem to care that much about how fans or media think about their moves. They are likely to make decisions based on what they believe is best for their team, nothing more.

That brings me back to the bullet points from the start of the article and a question: Do you think Colin Kaepernick would upgrade the Browns?

  • None of this article will have anything to do with him kneeling.
  • I assume all of you, on either side, have given your opinions on that matter over the past year.
  • For this article, and, hopefully, in the Forum to follow, those things do not matter.
  • This article was not written for any "click bait" reasons.
  • The goal is to only focus on Colin Kaepernick possibly playing football for the Cleveland Browns.

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