The NFL recently helped spread the word to its 32 teams that quarterback Colin Kaepernick is having an open workout on today. This could signal some movement in that department at some point this season or even the offseason. The question becomes whether the Bengals should get in on any of this action?
Before we answer that though, we have to address the elephant in the room. Kaepernick has been out of the league since 2016. He entered free agency and didn’t even get a sniff of interest despite being a quarterback who led a team to a Super Bowl appearance. Many feel his protesting during the national anthem that involved him taking a knee led to this development. It is something that Kaepernick and the NFL had a legal battle over that ended with the quarterback taking a settlement. Whether the Bengals should or shouldn’t sign Kaepernick has nothing to do with his protests.
Cincinnati was once involved with rumors regarding the polarizing quarterback. The Bengals were supposedly set to sign Kaepernick after the team was set to send AJ McCarron to the Browns. Of course, we all know that trade fell through due to Cleveland’s inability to properly process the trade. Still, this is a much different time for Cincinnati, and they should probably sit this one out for a few reasons.
Evaluating their rookie quarterback
They just handed the keys to Ryan Finley at quarterback. He has played a single game, and you just can’t evaluate a guy after one or two starts. It seems fairly clear that the Bengals are set to ride out this season with Finley to see if he has any miracles in him, or if he could be a quality enough backup that they could move on from Andy Dalton in the offseason.
Bringing in Kaepernick now is a move a team looking for a change at quarterback should be considering, and that is where Cincinnati falls. However, They are set on a much different path to correcting that position than signing a veteran.
Too far away from competing
This team is 0-9. They have no hopes at realistically making the playoffs, but more than that, they aren’t a quarterback away from being a competitor. This team has some serious problems on defense (that stem farther than just Chase Young), the offensive line needs more improvement than just Jonah Williams return will solve and Nick Vigil is still a starting linebacker.
Kaepernick just turned 32-years-old at the beginning of November. He is not the move you make if you are about to start a youth movement. He is a quarterback a team that is on the edge of competing makes who has questions at the quarterback position. Teams like the Bears and Titans come to mind.
This team is almost certain to take a quarterback first overall in a few months. They need someone they can count on to be at their best in three to five years, not on the decline.
Dalton safety net
The Bengals may need a bridge quarterback next season. Some may point to Kaepernick as a possibility, and it shouldn’t be completely dismissed. However, too many dominoes have to fall perfectly for it to happen for it to be likely.
First, Finley has to look like a lost cause over the next seven weeks. I mean BAD. He would have to have the Bengals consider moving on from him this offseason kind of bad. The next step is Dalton wanting out no matter what. Sure he was upset by the handling of his benching, but if Finley is super bad, and they tell him he can start his last season while whatever rookie they draft sits and learns then there is a good chance he stays considering he’d be set to get paid roughly $17.7 million for 2020.
Lets say Finley bombs and Dalton wants out of Cincinnati anyway. That is the only time it seems possible the Bengals could kick the tires on Kaepernick. He is a veteran quarterback with experience in the postseason and the biggest game. A more likely outcome in the situation is the team brings in a much less known veteran backup who they could bench during the season without making a huge splash.
Kaepernick deserves to be in this league. People may say something about his stats, but the fact is we’ve seen far worse quarterbacks who never led a team to a Super Bowl get a shot on another team. This is coming from a guy who didn’t believe Kaepernick would be anything more than a flash in the pan already. He deserves a shot to prove me and everyone like me wrong.
The simple truth is he isn’t a good fit for the Bengals as much as the Bengals just aren’t a good fit for him. Maybe if this was 2016 or 2017 it would be a different story, but Cincinnati is just not an ideal landing spot for someone looking to prove he still has it.