When asked why the Seahawks opted against signing Colin Kaepernick, Head Coach Pete Carroll said something that was as confusing as it was frustrating: Since the free agent is a starting-caliber QB, he wouldn’t fit on a team that already has one. But Carroll should have told fans what is really going on in the QB room. In reality, Seattle has two good options at the position. One is Russell Wilson.
The other was a star in college who could become one in the NFL: Trevone Boykin.
The Seahawks are intrigued with the chance to grow Boykin into much more than a guy with a clipboard. Kaepernick, who has extensive experience to go along with great athleticism and a strong arm, would put an end to that endeavor. Since the Seahawks have rarely employed more than two QBs since Carroll took over in 2010, adding the dynamic veteran would almost certainly mean Boykin’s exit. It would be a huge waste of the sophomore’s talent and potential.
After signing Boykin to a deal following the 2016 draft, Carroll could not say enough good things about the former TCU star.
“His versatility and his style of play is so similar to Russell’s,” Carroll said. “He’s got a big arm. He’s a very creative athlete. He’s got great instincts and great vision. His ability to run and make people miss and get out of trouble is very similar to what Russell does.”
The former Horned Frog has shown sustainable talent at the pro level. When Seattle met the 49ers in Santa Clara in Week 17, Boykin was thrown into the game with 9:29 to go in the fourth quarter. It was hard to expect much from the rookie; he was seeing his first real game action of his short career.
But on the final drive of the game, leading 25-23, Boykin defied expectations. He incinerated the dreams of a 49ers team clinging to the hopes of an inter-division upset. Like a flamethrower melting steel, Boykin torched the game with a 12-play, 5:42 series to end the contest. He finished 4 of 6 for 42 yards and sealed the win.
His stat-line was modest, but he showed mastery of poise and leadership in his brief appearance. It was really trial by fire – had the Seahawks punted or turned the ball over, the lowly 49ers could have embarrassed Carroll and Co. right before the playoffs. It was impressive that Boykin never wavered, delivering on a game-killing possession.
That’s what solid quarterbacks do.
The Seahawks have done their best to protect Boykin. They could (or maybe should) have signed a veteran to hedge a Wilson injury in 2016. And when Boykin was arrested earlier this offseason for violating his probation, and the Twitter-verse was clamoring for his release, the Seahawks stuck with him. The violation stemmed from an incident in which Boykin was the passenger to a drunk driver. The vehicle crashed into a bar and injured eight.
Given these circumstances, it was surprising he remained. The Seahawks have not been as understanding with other troubled employees. When Fullback Derrick Coleman was charged with vehicular assault and felony hit-and-run in June of last year, the Seahawks promptly released him. Likewise, when former Seahawks QB Tarvaris Jackson received a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in 2016, GM John Schneider handed him his walking papers, too.
When it comes to Boykin, however, the Seahawks are giving him plenty of leeway.
“Early indications are that everything will give him an opportunity to be back with us,” Carroll said on the John Clayton Show March 31.
Schneider and Carroll must see promise in the second-year pro to go to bat for him like they have. Boykin’s criminal history is no clean slate. And yet, the Seahawks are giving him one. He’s helped by a super-cheap rookie contract – owed just $1.7m over the next two years, according to Spotrac. If he develops into the dependable passer he appeared against the Niners, he could be the long-term answer behind Wilson. He could also be a nice trade chip if other teams view him similarly.
For now, Kaepernick will stay on the outskirts of the league. He will eventually find a team with which to contribute, but it probably won’t be the Seahawks. They are simply too enamored with Boykin’s potential to replace him so easily.