As of now, the Denver Broncos’ starting quarterback is Mark Sanchez, which, after the high of winning Super Bowl 50, is a pretty sobering prospect.
John Elway, understandably, wants to bring in another veteran to compete with Sanchez, but who?
“Everybody likes Colin Kaepernick,” Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “He did have some success early (in his career). He was a tipped pass away from winning the Super Bowl and another tipped pass away from getting back to the Super Bowl. But after that, it’s taken a turn. I think what transpired with (Jim) Harbaugh and the front office and the new coach had a bearing on how effective – or ineffective – he was the last couple of years, but if he can somehow get back to that form, I think he’ll be a viable option. But I think John has put a value on what he thinks he’s worth, and knowing him like I know him, he’s probably not going to go over that. And plus, the guy’s coming off shoulder surgery.”
He’s also going to receive guaranteed money later this week. Yes, as of Friday, $11.9 million of Kaepernick’s $14.3 million salary becomes guaranteed. His contract runs through 2020, with the final four years coming in at $19.3+ million per season. The Broncos would be willing to spend $11.9 million on a quarterback, but $19.3 million? Not a chance – unless the contract is incentive-laden.
The 49ers maintain they won’t move Kaepernick unless they get a great offer, but they also benched the 28-year-old for Blaine Gabbert last season.
“John probably doesn’t believe the smoke signals that they’re sending out there,” Sharpe said. “He probably doesn’t believe they’re going to pick up a $12 million option because that becomes guaranteed. But we’re going to see. Somebody’s bluffing. Somebody has a strong suit, and somebody has a 10-2 off-suit. So we’re going to see. Somebody’s going to have to flip the cards over, and we’re going to find out what’s going on.”
Kaepernick isn’t the only mobile quarterback hoping to resurrect his career with a new franchise. There’s also Robert Griffin III, who last week signed a two-year contract with the Cleveland Browns.
Griffin played just nine games in 2014 and didn’t play a single snap in 2015. Is his career salvageable?
“Well, it all depends on what you’re talking about,” Sharpe said. “I don’t think you’ll ever see the 2012 RG3. I don’t think you’ll see that guy. The injuries have taken a lot out of him. He’s had two devastating leg injuries. He doesn’t want to play that style of football anymore. I don’t know (if he would) even if he could. He’s going to have to learn to throw the football from the pocket. He has the athleticism. He can make plays in the pocket. But what made RG3 dynamic was the thing he wanted to escape. He won a Heisman Trophy and he was Offensive Rookie of the Year playing a style of ball that was kind of like what Cam Newton does: get outside the pocket. But he didn’t understand how to get down. Sometimes you have to know when the journey’s over. You look at a Russell Wilson, he gets down. He can slide. Cam takes some hits, but Cam (weighs) 265 (pounds). Cam is a D-Lineman that can throw, and he can throw from the pocket.”
Griffin will be given every opportunity to succeed under new Browns head coach Hue Jackson, who last year transformed Andy Dalton, at least statistically, into one of the best quarterbacks in the game.
“I look at it like this,” Sharpe said. “Two guys that I trust wholeheartedly with the quarterback position (are) Adam Gase and Hue Jackson. If one of those two guys cannot fix a problem with your quarterback, then he’s probably unsalvageable.”