When the news broke earlier this week that Joe Flacco would miss a short amount of time resting a minor back injury, the rumors of Colin Kaepernick signing with the Ravens started swirling. With Flacco set to miss anywhere from a week to the rest of training camp, John Harbaugh told the media that the team was looking to add another arm. He spoke highly of Kaepernick. The Ravens ended up signing former arena football league quarterback David Olson, who played for John’s brother Jim Harbaugh at Stanford, to come in and eat up some reps. They then cut Olsen today and signed Josh Woodrum, a former un-drafted passer out of Liberty. The Ravens still haven’t ruled out signing Kaepernick. We aren’t going to sit here and argue whether or not Kaepernick should have been signed over Olson. With an established starter in Joe Flacco, the Ravens may have just wanted to save some cap space for other position needs such as the offensive line. However, if Flacco’s injury turns out to be a long-term deal, I am sure the Ravens will sign someone else to give them more depth, possibly even Kaepernick.
As I mentioned, this article isn’t to voice an opinion one way or another about Kaepernick’s protest. As we enter training camp, he is the best available free agent quarterback on the market. His best NFL years were in 2012, when he took over for Alex Smith, and helped lead San Francisco to the Super Bowl, and 2013. He was 10th best passer in the NFL with 91.6 passer rating in 2013. As defenses figured out how to stop him and the Niners started losing games, his ratings slipped to 20th and 31st in the league in passer rating in 2014 and 2015 respectively. Last year he rebounded a little with a 90.7 passer rating, good for 17th in the league. Despite his regression, he is still the best QB on the free agency market, and with teams beginning training camp, there could be plenty of opportunities for Kaepernick to get a chance with a team. However, if the Ravens opted to sign a QB with basically zero NFL talent in Olson and then another one in Woodrum, it does not seem like teams are too eager to sign the former 49er. So, I decided to list off a few other QBs that I believe will hear their phones ring before Kaepernick.
1. JaMarcus Russell
Russell, considered the biggest bust in NFL history by many, last played in the NFL for the Oakland Raiders in 2009, and after two comeback attempts in 2013, and just last offseason, Russell finally gets his second chance to play in the NFL after numerous NFL starting QBs go down in training camp. He only gets a chance because a team takes him up on his offer to play a year for free. A free backup QB is better than no backup QB right? Russell’s career numbers sit at 18-23 touchdown to interception ratio, 15 lost fumbles, and a passer rating of 65.2.
2. Robert Griffin III
In what was supposed to be a rebound season last year for RG3, an injury derailed those plans as he was hurt in the first game of the season and didn’t return until week 13. The 27-year-old did lead the team to their only win last year. Griffin hasn’t been the same player since a knee injury he suffered against the Ravens in his rookie year. He isn’t the running threat that he once was but behind a good line, he could provide decent play for a team in need of a quarterback. If nothing else, the roster spot will give Griffin something else to do besides commenting clichés on his girlfriend’s Instagram account.
3. Johnny Manziel AKA Johnny Football
The former first round draft choice of the Cleveland Browns has fallen from the football graces when he chose the frat boy lifestyle over studying his playbook. He was released by the Browns and continued his partying ways. Many people name JaMarcus Russell as the biggest bust in NFL history, however I believe that Manziel is. Russell played really bad but at least his heart is still there. He has even offered to play for free if a team just gives him a chance. Manziel would rather party than play football. His heart isn’t in it. With that being said at only 24, Johnny Football probably deserves at least one more chance to convince people he can be mature and then immediately screw everything up.
4. Shane Falco (The Replacements)
Falco was a once promising NFL prospect who blew the Sugar Bowl for Ohio State as they lost to Florida State by 45 points. He spent one year playing for Seattle but flamed out. He returned to football during the lockout year and played for Washington. Falco led them to a 2-1 record before Edie Martel crossed the picket line and became the starter but didn’t play well in the first half against Dallas. Falco came back for the second half of the game against Dallas, in a must win situation, and lead the team to an improbable win and the playoffs. However, once the playoffs started all of the replacement players were let go as the regular players stopped the strike in time for the playoffs. Falco still has a good arm and something that can’t be measured: heart. A team is always looking for a quarterback like Shane Falco.
5. Paul Crewe (The Longest Yard)
Paul “Wrecking” Crewe, the former All Pro QB for Pittsburgh, disgracefully left the NFL after a point shaving scheme. He was then promptly arrested and found guilty of point shaving and sentenced to 12 years in prison. Warden Hazen approached Crewe will an incredible offer: for Crewe to help the Guards football team prepare for their semi-pro league season. After initially declining, Crewe says he will help and assembles a team of prisoners to play the Guards in a warm up game before their season starts. Crewe managed to get a nasty physical football team, rightfully named The Mean Machines. They went on to beat the Guards with huge comeback win sealed by a two point conversion. Crewe went on to lead that team to several prison league championships. He won the Prison League MVP 8 out of the 11 seasons he played while in prison. He has since been released, and although he is in his 40’s, he could provide quality play for a team in desperate need of a quarterback.
6. Brucie (The Longest Yard)
The man everyone knows by only his first name (a la Bono, Madonna, Neymar), was also on that Mean Machine Team with Crewe. Brucie played many different positions and wasn’t particularly good at any of them. He found his place playing as the backup quarterback, but not before a lot of disappointing play. The biggest flaw of Brucie was that he can’t stop eating buttery popcorn before every practice and game.
However, his best attribute was playing so bad that he helped make good plays for his team. He was the best onside kicker in the league because he was so painfully awful at kickoffs. He provides value in the fact that he can make bad plays that turn into good plays for a team and can also handle the onside kicks. He doesn’t provide any current controversy since his release from prison, other than being divorced for cheating on his wife while in prison.
7. Matt Saracen (Friday Night Lights)
After the top high school quarterback in the nation suffers a career ending injury, Matt Saracen was thrust into the starting job for the Dillon Panthers, a team with a rich history. Everyone in the community didn’t trust him with the job, but Coach Taylor and the leaders on the team did. After Coach Taylor gave in to the pressure and started Ray Voodoo Tatum, another top QB prospect that boosters recruited. However, Tatum wasn’t a team player, so Coach Taylor decided to start Matt again. It was a decision that worked out when Saracen led the team to the State Championship, where he threw for 283 yards and 2 TDs in a comeback win. He finished his sophomore season with a 60% completion percentage, 2,586 passing yards, 19 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, and a 121.3 quarterback rating. His junior season, fraught with personal problems and getting benched, lead to him rock bottom as he began drinking and going to strip clubs. He did bounce back and earned the starting job back for his senior season. But pressure mounts as top freshman J.D. McCoy gains support of the boosters and community forcing Coach Taylor to bench Matt and Start McCoy. After riding the bench for several games, Matt convinced Coach Taylor to give him a chance at wide receiver. But after poor play by McCoy in the State Championship game, Coach Taylor benched him in favor of Saracen who led them on a huge comeback, but the Panthers lost on a last second field goal. Because of Saracen’s rocky history as a starting QB he had no D1 prospects. He decided to attend The Art Institute of Chicago, but transferred back to Dillon Tech, where he led the football team to a Division Championship four consecutive seasons. He has since bounced around on many team’s practice squads but has never really stuck. He is appealing because he is a clutch quarterback with a lot of fight and heart.