Colin Kaepernick remains a free agent, and while the reasons behind that may seem obvious to some, Drew Brees isn’t sure this is as black and white (no pun intended) as people think.
“It’s hard to know what’s going on behind the scenes,” Brees said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “Unless you’re somebody on the inner circle, I don’t think you would really know exactly what’s going on. Has he received offers from other people? I don’t know. Has he turned down opportunities? I don’t know. So I think for most people, you sit back and say, ‘Oh, he hasn’t been chosen by a team, and this is why.’ It’s easy to sit back and speculate that, but do any of us really know if he’s been extended an offer or if he’s turned down offers? I certainly don’t.”
The Seahawks were interested in Kaepernick but ultimately signed Austin Davis, who didn’t play a snap in 2016. That only intensified speculation that Kaepernick was – and is – being black-balled by the league.
Brees, 38, believes Kaepernick should have a job in the NFL regardless of his social activism.
“Well, yeah, if he can help the team win, then why not?” Brees asked. “I guess you could call him a controversial figure, just because there’s obviously a lot to talk about when somebody brings up his name. I think immediately people want to point to the fact that he knelt during the national anthem or didn’t recognize it that that’s the reason he’s not being signed to a team right now. I’m not sure about that. I think at the end of the day, there’s been a lot of players over the last five years, 10 years, that you could say, okay, there was some type of controversy surrounding that player, and yet, they still were on a team. There was somebody out there that felt like this person can help us win football games, and so I’m going to sign this player. So again, the scenarios and the circumstances are different for every team.”
But if Kaepernick had been offered a contract, we probably would have heard about that, no?
“We probably would have,” Brees said, “but nobody truly knows. He could have gotten an offer and said, ‘I don’t want to sign there. I want to wait and see maybe what my other opportunities are.’ And all of a sudden that opportunity’s now gone. Maybe it went to somebody else because he turned it down. Nobody knows.”
The Saints, of course, are set at quarterback. They just need to improve in other areas.
New Orleans has finished 7-9 in four of the last five seasons, including three straight. The Saints traded Brandin Cooks in the offseason but signed Ted Ginn Jr. They also signed Adrian Peterson, who, along with Mark Ingram, will form one of the best one-two punches in football.
Thus, you can probably expect more handoffs from the Saints this season.
“We’ll execute the offense that we feel like gives us the best chance to win,” Brees said. “By having guys like Mark Ingram, who I think is one of the best all-purpose backs in the league, and a guy like Arian Peterson – I think we’d be foolish not to hand it off to those guys as much as you can. But that’s got to be effective. So I think for us offensively, we always talk about being very complementary with run and pass. We’ve got some good, young weapons in the wide receiver corps, and we go out and sign a guy like Ted Ginn, who is a very productive player and can really stretch the field. So I think we’ve got a lot of pieces in places to be very versatile.”
Of course, it’ll be interesting to see which Peterson shows up in New Orleans: the one who led the league in rushing in 2015, or the one who was limited to three games in 2016?
“He’s coming off a knee injury where he missed most of the season, so I think a lot of people just want to see what he looks like,” Brees said. “He’s a 32-year-old running back in the NFL, which typically means that you’re retired. But he’s a different guy as far as his longevity and what he’s been able to accomplish later in his carer. Two years ago, he led league in rushing at age, what, 30? So I think he’s a guy who’s hungry and out to prove something. He still looks explosive as ever. To have these three weeks under our belt, handing off to him on a consistent basis and watching him hit the hole and doing it with the explosion that you would expect from a guy like him, it’s been impressive.”
Peterson will make his Saints debut on Monday Night Football in, you guessed it, Minnesota. New Orleans plays the Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sept. 11 at 7:10 p.m. ET.