An alarming number of NFL teams have lost their starting quarterbacks — and in the case of the New York Jets, two starting quarterbacks — during the first two weeks of the season. All of those teams have made or are in the process of making plans to address their sudden need at quarterback.
None of those plans involve Colin Kaepernick. Instead they involve the likes of Paxton Lynch, Devlin Hodges, Taysom Hill, Josh Dobbs, Luke Falk, David Fales, J.T. Barrett, Gardner Minshew and, possibly, Kyle Allen and Will Grier.
Meanwhile, Kaepernick’s lawyer was out there Tuesday reminding folks that his client, a former Super Bowl participant, is ready for action, as he has been for two-plus seasons now.
“He is actively, actively interested in trying to play in the NFL,” attorney Mark Geragos told USA Today on Tuesday. “Absolutely.”
Kaepernick, a former starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, started a movement in 2016 by refusing to stand during the national anthem as a protest against social injustice. He became a free agent the following offseason and hasn’t found work in the league since. In 2017, he filed a collusion grievance arguing that NFL teams had blackballed him because of his protests. That case was resolved earlier this year.
Kaepernick has started 58 NFL games, including a Super Bowl, and has thrown 72 touchdown passes (to go with 13 rushing TDs). But he’s now two games into his third season of unemployment. That’s a long time to be away from the game, but Kaepernick indicated in a tweet last month that he’s been keeping himself in prime condition while he waits.
5am. 5 days a week. For 3 years. Still Ready. pic.twitter.com/AGczejA1rM— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) August 7, 2019
Before the start of the season, The Times published a partial list of quarterbacks who have been able to latch on with teams during the span that Kaepernick has been out of work. It included Kellen Clemens, Mark Sanchez, Brock Osweiler, Brandon Weeden, Brian Hoyer, Matt Barkley, Case Keenum, Chad Henne, Blaine Gabbert, Geno Smith, Matt Cassel, Robert Griffin III, Brett Hundley, Blake Bortles and many more.
That list is already significantly longer.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have lost veteran Ben Roethlisberger for the year with an elbow injury. Second-year quarterback Mason Rudolph will be making his first NFL start Sunday in his place, with undrafted rookie Hodges, promoted this week from the practice squad, as his backup. On Monday, the Steelers signed Lynch — who has made four career starts and hasn’t played since 2017 — to their practice squad.
The New Orleans Saints will be without longtime quarterback Drew Brees indefinitely after he undergoes surgery on his right thumb Wednesday afternoon. Coach Sean Payton has yet to name a starter between veteran quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and third-year player Hill, who has completed 3 of 7 passes for 64 yards with one interception. On Monday, the Saints signed quarterback J.T. Barrett to their practice squad, a move they made 23 times last season.
Jets starter Sam Darnold is out indefinitely with mononucleosis. His backup, Trevor Siemian, injured ligaments in his left ankle during the team’s loss to Cleveland on Monday night and has been placed on season-ending injured reserve. Second-year player Falk, who was promoted from the practice squad to serve as Siemian’s backup earlier this week, is now the Jets’ starting quarterback. On Wednesday, they signed Fales — a sixth-round pick in 2014 who has played in three NFL games with no starts — to the practice squad.
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles is out with a broken collarbone until Week 11 at the earliest. In his place, they’re going with the rookie Minshew, a sixth-round draft pick. Following the Foles injury (and before the Roethlisberger injury), the Jaguars also traded a fifth-round pick to the Steelers for Dobbs, who has played in five games but has zero NFL starts, to serve as Minshew’s backup.
Carolina Panthers starter Cam Newton is dealing with a foot sprain and was wearing a walking boot Wednesday. If he’s unable to play this week or beyond, the Panthers are left with second-year quarterback Allen (one NFL start) and the rookie Grier on their depth chart.