It’s tough to find a satisfying explanation for why Seattle went with Austin Davis instead. Plus, the Jets’ latest off-field problem, and the futures of Jimmy Garoppolo and Peyton Manning
1. Colin Kaepernick is not going sign with the Seahawks (for now), as Seattle filled its void for a veteran backup by signing Austin Davis. I think no matter how you spin it, there is no satisfying answer for why they didn’t pick Kaepernick. Seattle didn’t want to invite a quarterback controversy? The team didn’t want to invite any controversy? As venerable beat man Gregg Bell tweeted, “Davis is a backup and [the] team sees Colin Kaepernick as a starter it doesn’t need”? It is a money issue? It’s easy to use Seahawks brass as a scapegoat here—especially as their offense is perhaps best tailored to fit Kaepernick’s style—but remember, at least they brought Kaepernick in; 30 other teams didn’t.
2. I think, once again, the Jets have an off-field situation to address. Over the weekend, a video emerged of defensive lineman Leonard Williams breaking up a fight between a man who appears to be teammate Darron Lee and a woman at a music festival. (The Jets say they are “investigating.”) If it is indeed Lee and he was involved in an altercation, he could face discipline per the league’s Personal Conduct Policy, even though no arrests were made. But moreover, watching the footage, I am impressed by the 22-year-old Williams’ poise. Yes, he uses his 6' 5", 300-pound frame to diffuse the situation. It takes a level of maturity to step in as calmly as he did. Those leadership qualities are exactly what the Jets covet.
3. Delving into college football for a moment… Kansas State did the right thing by reversing course, releasing Corey Sutton from his scholarship (after the backup receiver says he was initially blocked from transferring to a list of 35 schools, some of which were in the FCS or Division II, and none of which were in the Big 12 or future K-State opponents). If we’re still classifying college football players as amateurs, there's no place for punitive restrictions that prevent student-athletes from receiving a fresh start. But I think this is what left me with an extremely sour taste: Snyder’s off-putting comments to local media on why he was blocking Sutton. In defending his stance, Snyder smeared Sutton, alleging the wideout twice failed drug tests. Snyder has since apologized, but that petty behavior should not be tolerated, especially from a man supposed to be leader.
4. Colleague Chris Burke is lining up an interesting project in which he polled the staff to rank the 10 most important non-quarterbacks on every NFL team. I think I was surprised when Chris informed me I was the only person to rank Byron Jones as one of the 10 most important Cowboys not named Dak Prescott. My rationale? Defense has been the weak link for the Cowboys, and there's been a lot of turnover in the secondary. Dallas drafted four DBs in 2017 to compensate for the four it lost in free agency (Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox and their combined 224 career starts). That pushes Jones, with all of 27 starts over two years, into an important leadership role.
5. Speaking of most valuable players, I think it’s significant that Pete Carroll revealed this update regarding safety Earl Thomas: “There will be no question about him being ready to go when we get back to camp.” Seattle’s defense crumbled last year after Thomas broke his left leg on Dec. 4. In the final five regular season games, Seattle allowed 12 touchdowns and recorded just one interception.
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6. I have no issue with Peyton Manning taking his time in deciding what he wants to do post-football, but I think few people believed he would take this much time. As in, who would have thought Jay Cutler and Tony Romo would have post-football jobs lined up before Manning? I bring this up as Manning golfed with President Donald Trump and Sen. Bob Corker over the weekend, again igniting speculation about Manning’s political aspirations. (Could he be eyeing a Senate seat?) Manning quashed that rumor in March: “Last week I was going to run a team, this week I’m going to apparently run for Senate, and next week I’ll be an astronaut…” Well, Manning is hosting the ESPYs in July, so you might as well add talk-show host to the list.
7. There was so much chatter about massive contracts handed out to offensive linemen this offseason, but I think Andrew Whitworth is going to earn every dollar of his three-year, $36 million pact with the Rams ($15 million of which is guaranteed). Of course, the 35-year-old Whitworth is tasked with protecting the Rams’ biggest investment, 2016 No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff. And Whitworth will do so by relieving Greg Robinson, whose development has stalled. But according to the Los Angeles Times, Whitworth has also been a much-needed veteran presence for one of the youngest teams in football—which includes rookie head coach Sean McVay, four years his junior. “He’s been a great sounding board for me,” McVay told the Times.
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8. Speculation on what the Patriots will do with Jimmy Garoppolo is rampant, but I think here are two options that make sense. As mentioned by NFL Network’s Willie McGinest, the Patriots might franchise-tag Garoppolo. Or this alternative, raised by ESPN’s Mike Reiss: offer Garoppolo the $24 million he would receive through the tag via a one-year extension right now. That would be a cap-friendlier option as the Patriots could spread his cap hit over the next two years. Indeed, $24 million on a backup quarterback is unconventional. But it buys Bill Belichick and Co. one more year to sort out its quarterback quandary. And hey, since when are the Patriots been conventional?
9. I think I’m late, but I’d be remiss not to share this beautiful feature on former Seahawks running back Curt Warner and his wife, who candidly discuss raising twins with autism.
10. I think I love that the football world is jumping on the Nashville Predators bandwagon, and with flare. First it was Titans offensive linemen shot-gunning beers, then Rex and Rob Ryan (Rex is a season-ticket holder) smashing cars with Penguins decals (and later getting into a bar scuffle), and, finally, Nick Saban posing in a Preds jersey with his wife, Terry—in his signature boat shoes, of course.
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