Wednesday Morning QB (Week 4)

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This week the Carolina Panthers took a big step that shouldn’t really be a step that teams need to make.

A few years ago Colin Kaepernick sat down during the playing of the national anthem and explained after the game that it was a form of protest regarding the death of a number of young African Americans.

For Kaepernick, the rate at which young black men were dying at the hands of police officers was too much and he had to do something.

He used his platform to speak on the issue and it turned the NFL upside down with fans firing back and the President of the United States stating his opinion on the matter.

Since that 2016 season, it has remained one of the biggest stories in the NFL with Kaepernick out of a job and now suing the NFL for collusion.

Although Kaepernick might not be good enough to be a starter in the league there are some serious arguments about him not having a job at all.

It is hard to argue that he is not at least as talented as a number of starting QBs and most backup quarterbacks.

Yet he remains without a job in what seems closer to a number of teams not wanting to deal with the controversy that he would bring by kneeling during the anthem.

For Kaepernick, it is a plan by the NFL to punish him for speaking his mind in trying to keep his mouth shut by keeping him off of every team.

Lost among the controversy surrounding Kaepernick has been the same punishment that Eric Reid has faced.

Reid was the man kneeling right beside Kaepernick when the protest first started and although he hasn’t been the face of the protests he has been a main name in them.

That collusion case brought by Kaepernick also involved Reid and since that time Reid has been out of the league as well.

He has been about as outspoken as Kaepernick has throughout the last few years and has yet to find a home to play.

That was until this week when the Panthers signed Reid to fill a hole in their secondary.

Now Reid returns to the league after signing his contract and for him, it changes very little as he plans to continue his protest.

At his introductory press conference, Reid wore a shirt that had #imwithkaep on the front in a clear message to everyone wondering what he might do.

It seems clear that Reid plans to continue his protest and will kneel during the anthem as he plans to keep the protest going.

Many before have said that the simplest thing would be for Reid and others like him to just stop kneeling and find out another way to protest.

They could easily find a contract if they just agreed not to protest and many teams reflected that exact sentiment.

The Panthers had their own issues this offseason with a number of things but when they needed a safety they reached out to someone who was seemingly unwelcome

The Panthers supposedly never asked about the protests and were solely concentrating on the fact that Reid seems like he might be able to help them on the field.

That attitude will be put to the test as Reid will step on the field soon and when he does his first major action could be kneeling in front of the flag.

The response to that could be a massive turning point for the NFL and teams around the league.

Should the Panthers begin to try to stifle his voice and not let him protest nothing seems like it will change and the pattern of teams continuing to suppress players will only move on.

Then again the Panthers could just do nothing and let Reid speak his mind and hold his protest on the sideline.

They are sure to get some backlash from that move but they might gain a lot more respect throughout a fan base that seems divided.

It could be the first step in repairing this constant battle between players and owners by allowing a player to exercise his right to free speech.

For some, it might even be a sign that Kaepernick could be coming back at some point in time with the attitude changing.

Then again Kaepernick is more of the face of the protests than Reid ever was and with teams moving one more and more serviceable QBs are entering the league laving Kaep out of it.

The biggest thing from this move could be the fact that an NFL team signed a player they know is going to protest.

For most of the offseason that was a massive no-no for teams but eventually things shift and the Panthers signing could be the first step in that shift.


Fifth Quarter

Le’Veon to Report

Le’Veon Bell has been a hot topic for most of the season as he continues his holdout after the Steelers franchise tagged him in the offseason. The holdout has left the Steelers without their best running back and left Bell without a place to play. There seemed to be no end to this holdout but this week reports began to surface that Bell plans to report for Week 7. The Steelers are still looking to trade their star but are likely asking for a lot and only willing to give up a running back who has now held out twice. The saga continues in Pittsburgh as he may very well be back in Week 7 but he might not even be a Steeler by Week 7.

Fitzmagic Over?

When Ryan Fitzpatrick is signed to a team it seems like he is always guaranteed to get some time. What he does with that time always seems to amaze people as well with his ability to come in as a backup quarterback and win games. This year he was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the offseason and he was going to get time with Jameis Winston serving a three-week suspension. He took advantage of that tie and played great even taking the top spot from Winston when the young QB was ready to return. After a disastrous Week 4 though, Winston will take his role back leaving Fitzmagic on the sideline, at least for now.

Trade Possibilities Gone

Earl Thomas has regularly been in the headlines recently as the last remaining member of the Legion of Boom has not been very happy in Seattle. The Seahawks were reportedly working on letting him go to another team as they were listening to trade deals and were close to getting something done. Then came disaster for both sides as Thomas suffered a broken leg and was carted off the field. While he left the field he rose his middle finger to his own sidelines showing his distaste for the Seahawks and the way they had handled his contract negotiations. Now Thomas will be out for the year while the Seahawks will be unable to trade someone who won’t be able to recover in time to return at any point this season.

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