Reimer: Jets must sign Colin Kaepernick to turn AFC East into most entertaining dumpster fire ever

Alex Reimer
August 08, 2017 - 2:39 pm

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

None of the teams in the AFC East are going to compete with the Patriots this season. So, they might as well be complete and utter dumpster fires.

The Dolphins have already done their part, luring Jay Cutler out of the announcer’s booth and back onto the sidelines, where he is destined to stand apathetically at various points this season after throwing several costly fourth quarter interceptions. Cutler is supposed to replace Ryan Tannehill, who went down with a knee injury earlier in camp. Since Tannehill failed to repair his partially torn ACL over the offseason, he might be forced to undergo season-ending surgery.

Cutler, 34 played up this caricature during his introductory press conference on Monday. He stood at the podium with his hands at his side, appearing defeated before he even takes his first sack. 

“The good thing is, I play quarterback so I don’t have to be in that great cardiovascular shape,” Cutler told reporters, after adding that his wife had “talked him into” playing. 

The Dolphins signed Cutler to an one-year, $10 million contract.

While it makes some football sense for the Dolphins to bring Cutler aboard –– he threw for 3,659 yards and 21 touchdowns while working under head coach Adam Gase’s offense in Chicago –– they predictably received heat for passing on Colin Kaepernick. The outrage picked up when it was reported Miami would’ve signed Christian Ponder before giving Kaepernick a look.

It’s been nearly one year since Kaepernick first kneeled during the national anthem, and he remains perhaps the most polarizing athlete in the country. It’s apparent he’s been blackballed from the game, with NFL owners even admitting non-football factors are keeping him off the field. Earlier this year, Giants owner John Mara said any team that signs Kaepernick would be greeted with immense fan backlash. Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, who consulted with accused murderer Ray Lewis about Kaepernick, acknowledged July 30 he was weighing fan and sponsor reaction before making a decision on the controversial QB.

Even the most ardent Kaepernick defenders must admit he’s become a sideshow at this point. His penchant for making provocative statements, such as comparing police officers to “runaway slave patrol,” hasn’t dissipated with time. The climax to this saga may arrive Aug. 23, when Spike Lee holds a protest for Kaepernick at NFL headquarters. The filmmaker misspelled Kaepernick’s name on the promotional poster. 

If the Jets aren’t careful, Kaepernick, who recently bought a $3.21 million condo in Manhattan, could bump them off the back page several times this season –– even if he remains unemployed. That’s why the desperate Jets must sign him to play quarterback. Owner Woody Johnson may love Donald Trump, but he loves attention even more. 

The Jets seem primed for a winless campaign, especially with wideout Quincy Enunwa on injured reserve with a neck injury. Quarterback Christian Hackenberg, the 2015 second-round pick who’s currently their No. 1, has been struggling to get out of the huddle correctly. 

There’s no reason why the Jets shouldn’t sign Kaepernick. In the words of Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, “whoever is starting for (them) is terrible.” Plus, while the “Make America Great Again” crowd loathes Kaepernick, Trump didn’t eclipse 22 percent of the vote in Manhattan or any of the surrounding burroughs. Also, polls show that Kaepernick drove few fans away from the NFL last season, despite Clay Travis’ insistence to the contrary. 

Kaepernick wouldn’t make the Jets any good, of course. He went 1-10 with the 49ers last season while throwing to a comparably awful supporting cast. But if the Jets are going to be laughingstocks, they might as well have a villainious quality. It would be interesting to hear Kaepernick’s thoughts on Tom Brady's friendship with Donald Trump, for example. Or maybe has some two-year-old Deflategate takes saved up?

Beating up on Hackenberg or Josh McCown twice this season would be dull. Kaepernick is many things, but boring certainly isn't one of them. 


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