We're nine days into free agency, 40 days until the draft and there's plenty to talk about. Our New York Jets question of the week:
#jetsmail Why aren't the Jets going after Kaepernick? Play, politics, fear of media circus, or all of the above?
— Baruch Gitlin (@BaruchGitlin) March 17, 2017
@RichCimini: It's a compelling dynamic, isn't it? Colin Kaepernick is a 29-year-old quarterback with four postseason victories on his résumé, including an NFC championship, and he can't get a job. Interestingly, new San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch said in a radio interview Friday that Kaepernick was on the verge of signing with a team last week, but "it fell through apparently." He didn't name the team.
You're right, the Jets aren't pursuing Kaepernick despite a need at the position and John Morton's familiarity with him. The Jets' new offensive coordinator was the 49ers' receivers coach when Kaepernick was a rising star.
I suspect the answer to your question is "all of the above." Let me explain.
Despite solid numbers last season on a bad team (16 touchdowns, four interceptions), Kaepernick's game has regressed since his signature season, 2013. The Jets saw it with their own eyes in a game in December. Kaepernick came out on fire and led the 49ers to a 17-3 lead, but he went into a shell, completing only 8 of 18 passes for 38 yards over the final three quarters and overtime.
You'd like to think the Jets based their free-agent evaluation on football only, but let's not be naive: There's more to it than that.
Even though Kaepernick has indicated he won't continue his national-anthem protests, his reputation will precede him wherever he goes. And, yes, that would create a media circus, particularly in New York, where it takes very little for us to roll out the big top. Jets coach Todd Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan have tried hard over the past two-plus years to distance themselves from the Rex Ryan craziness. It hasn't been a smooth ride -- far from it -- but it's not as though they're willingly looking for distractions.
Let's not forget about owner Woody Johnson, a prominent Republican fundraiser whom President Trump has nominated to be ambassador to Britain. Johnson shared his feelings on the Kaepernick controversy last fall. Asked how he'd feel if one of his players took a knee during the anthem to protest racial and social issues, Johnson said, "It wouldn't be my first choice."
This isn't to suggest Kaepernick's political beliefs are the only reason he's not on the Jets' radar, but I certainly believe it's part of the equation. Johnson is the boss; he signs the checks.
So instead of chasing Kaepernick, the Jets are courting the likes of Josh McCown and Jay Cutler -- a guy who has lost 20 of his past 22 starts and one who is coming off shoulder surgery, respectively.
Let's face it, there are no brilliant options.