The Baltimore Ravens are reportedly interested in signing Colin Kaepernick but split on whether to pull the trigger. Head coach John Harbaugh and general manager Ozzie Newsome are reportedly on board with signing the 29-year-old lightning rod, while owner Steve Bisciotti reportedly is not.
What should the Ravens do?
“Obviously Colin Kaepernick is someone to consider if you’re in the market for a quarterback or a backup quarterback,” former Ravens coach and current NFL Network analyst Brian Billick said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “It’s on two levels: How do you feel about the circumstances that come with him? And more importantly, where do you think he is as a player? And I think that’s the part that’s getting overshadowed right now.”
Yes, while some people insist Kaepernick is being blackballed by the league, others insist that his talent – or lack thereof – no longer merits an NFL roster spot.
“I loved Colin Kaepernick the first couple years,” Billick said. “I thought he had the sweetest stroke and (was as) accurate as I’d seen anybody coming out, and he just seems to have digressed.”
Kaepernick completed 59.2 percent of his passes for 2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns, and four interceptions for the 49ers last season. He also ran for 468 yards and two scores.
Still, there are questions about Kaepernick’s skill level – and how he would fit socially and politically in certain cities.
“Baltimore is a different town than San Francisco,” Billick said. “Some are uncomfortable with the stances that Colin Kaepernick took, and I think Steve Bisciotti, the owner, who is a native of this area, that is a concern for him. So it’s something that they’re debating.”
The Ravens, by the way, have missed the playoffs in three of the last four seasons, this after reaching the postseason five straight years from 2008-12. Translation: If the Ravens think Kaepernick can help them on the field, they should probably sign him.
“At the end of the day, just win, baby,” Billick said. “That’s the bottom line and these are all good businessmen. But I will say this: Knowing Steve Bisciotti, that part of it is important to him. He built a business, a multi-billion-dollar business, mostly with young people coming out of college, developing a culture at Aerotek and Allegis, and the other companies that he owned with a group mentality and the servant-leader mentality – and that is important to him.”
But is it more important than winning? And should fans have this much control over the product on the field?
“I love the fans,” Billick said, “but on 4th-and-1, I’m not going to let them decide whether I’m going to go for it or not.”
There’s also this: If the Ravens don’t sign Kaepernick, who will? John Harbaugh, of course, is the bother of Jim Harbaugh, who coached Kaepernick in San Francisco, and Ravens assistant Greg Roman was Kaepernick’s OC from 2011-14.
“They have all the inside knowledge they need,” Billick said. “And let’s be clear – and I’m one of them – there are still a lot of people that still have some legitimate football questions about the value he may have. If they end up not going with Colin Kaepernick given the comfort zone with they have with a John Harbaugh and a Greg Roman, that could be a bit damning for the young man. This one could be interesting to watch.
Especially given that Joe Flacco isn’t Aaron Rodgers. Or Tom Brady. Or Drew Brees. Or Ben Roethlisberger. Or a number of other quarterbacks, including Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan, and Derek Carr.
Just how good is Flacco, who threw for 4,317 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions last season?
“Where would I (rank) Joe Flacco? (among quarterbacks)?” Billick asked, spouting off names of guys who are better. “All of a sudden, you see (him) down around that 15, 16, 17, 20 area.”
Ultimately, Billick believes the Ravens will make the right choice – regardless of what they decide.
“Having worked with Ozzie Newsome and Steve Bisciotti, I’m very confident in the observation that Steve, at the end of the day, believes in his people and he’s going to give them the latitude to do what they think is right,” Billick said. “Yet, he is going to express his opinion. Whether it’s this ongoing battle, I don’t know that that’s the case. That’s not the way they operate. It’s not the way they (operated) when I was there, and it doesn’t appear to be the way they’re operating now.”