Would Ravens revisit Colin Kaepernick as a backup QB option?

Acquiring Colin Kaepernick was discussed by the Ravens last summer. Would they consider it again? Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Baltimore Ravens' first option in finding a backup quarterback is drafting one. The Ravens also could look at practice squad quarterback Josh Woodrum as a replacement for Ryan Mallett.

What if Baltimore fails to take a quarterback in the draft for the fourth straight year or deems Woodrum too big of a risk as the primary backup to Joe Flacco? Would the Ravens ever revisit Colin Kaepernick?

"We’re always trying to make our team better," team president Dick Cass said last week at the NFL owners meetings when asked about the possibility of the Ravens considering Kaepernick.

Cass declined to talk further about Kaepernick because of the ongoing collusion lawsuit against the league. Kaepernick should be considered a fallback option at this point, but he would be the best available passer within Baltimore's financial limitations.

Coach John Harbaugh acknowledged that the team's cap space won't allow the Ravens to spend $3 million a year on a backup quarterback, and the franchise expressed interest in Kaepernick last summer, when Flacco's status was uncertain because of a herniated disc. Ravens officials consulted with fans and former and current players, as well as sponsors, about Kaepernick. Ray Lewis said last year that Baltimore was close to signing Kaepernick before the quarterback's girlfriend posted a "racist" tweet featuring the Hall of Fame linebacker and owner Steve Bisciotti.

Kaepernick was out of football last season, one year after he drew national attention when he knelt during the national anthem before games as a protest of social injustice, which he said he will no longer do. The Kaepernick issue would be a sensitive one because the Ravens have been dealing with increasing no-shows at their home games, which the team believes is partly due to national anthem protests. Last week, Cass emphasized the need for the organization to do a better job of engaging with fans.

But there are few teams that have more uncertainty at backup quarterback than Baltimore. The Ravens are one of four teams whose current backup quarterback hasn't thrown a pass in the regular season. The New York Giants, Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks are the others.

Kaepernick, 30, can provide experience with what would have to be a prove-it contract. He has declined in each of his past three seasons in the NFL, but his touchdown-to-interception ratio (2.4) since 2012 ranks eighth in the league in that span. He led the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship Game in 2013.

New Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden said last week that he was "surprised" Kaepernick hasn't been signed yet.

"He probably will be soon," Gruden said.

The Ravens are probably not even close to thinking about Kaepernick right now. Baltimore's options likely are as Harbaugh spelled them out when he was asked how the team will address backup quarterback.

"That will be interesting to see because I don’t know, we don’t know," Harbaugh said. "It could go rookie. It could go Josh Woodrum. It could go veteran."

The top choice is presumably a rookie draft pick. There has been speculation that Baltimore will take a quarterback as early as the first round, but the more likely scenario is between the third and fifth rounds.

Quarterbacks expected to be taken in the middle rounds include Richmond's Kyle Lauletta, Washington State's Luke Falk and Marshall's Chase Litton. Harbaugh has watched a lot of the quarterbacks in this year's class on film, and he has had his brother, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, look at them as well.

"It's a good group," John Harbaugh said. "There are a lot of quarterbacks deep in the draft, which bodes well. My guess if we have a chance somewhere along the line, we'll get one. There are enough of them. It's not like you're looking at the group and saying, 'I don't think there's anybody there we would like in any given round.' They usually fly off the board, though. So you never know."

If the Ravens are unable to draft a quarterback, they could look to Woodrum, who starred for the team in the preseason and spent all of last season on Baltimore's practice squad.

Going with Woodrum would be a gamble because of his lack of experience and the importance of this season for the franchise after the team didn't make the playoffs for three straight years. He has never thrown a pass in an NFL regular-season game and has been with six teams since he was signed as an undrafted rookie by the New York Giants in 2016.

"I’m not so sure Josh Woodrum can’t do it," Harbaugh said. "He’ll have to prove it, but he was pretty good last year, and he’s got all the intangibles. I think that’s where it starts, and then we’ll kind of work from there."

If the Ravens don't draft a quarterback and Woodrum doesn't prove himself, there won't be many choices available. There have been 22 quarterbacks signed in free agency, including the likes of David Fales, Tyler Bray and Matt McGloin.

Would Baltimore take another look at Kaepernick? It's a big question that the Ravens could face months down the road.