STRANGE BEDFELLOWS

Would a Bob McNair/Colin Kaepernick marriage be good for everyone?

Bob McNair would not really OK a Colin Kaepernick signing. Would he? Bob Levey/Getty Images

News of Deshaun Watson’s torn ACL has put a damper on the Houston Texan’s season. His star was shining bright. He made the team appointment television. The franchise finally had its long-awaited quarterback of the future. Alas, this is Houston. And there’s always the plot twist that feels more like a kick in the groin.

Not more than an hour or so after the news broke, did the rumor mill of Bob McNair OK'ing of a Colin Kaepernick a workout. This also comes on the heels of McNair’s "inmates" comments last week. Could this be the beginning of a beautiful story, or just another pump fake of Kaepernick getting a shot to play again?

The main reason this is a bad idea is because it will seem like McNair is using a form of appeasement or affirmative action. Let’s call a spade a spade here. It will look like a rich white guy is using the plight of a perceived militant black guy to get him off the hook with his players and portions of the team’s fanbase who were highly upset about his choice of words and subsequent apology. I want to believe this signing off of a workout is genuine, but the timing of the comments, apology, injury, and Kaepernick’s availability is very convenient for McNair’s benefit. As far as the football side, the team most likely isn’t going anywhere, so why bother? They don’t have a first or second rounder. The offensive line is horrid. And Kaep isn’t a more superior decision-maker or more accurate passer than Watson to say he’d make a difference.  People will soon realize (if most haven’t already) that this was a way to clean up McNair’s standing with those that were offended by his comments. It’ll be his “Get Out Of Jail Free” card. Fans will reject the idea of the face of the NFL anthem protests is now wearing their team’s jersey and playing the most important position. The money the team would lose because of counter-protests to the signing could be substantial. Should McNair decide the scrutiny and monetary losses too much and eject on the idea after approving it, it’ll get worse by making him appear to bow to the pressure.

However, there’s always a flipside to this story. What if McNair genuinely signed off on this idea and wants to use it to aid race relations? What if he actually wants to sit down with Kaepernick and truly open dialogue between two polar opposites to help heal the wounds caused by the continual fallout to anthem protests and the police brutality which originally spurred them into existence in the first place? On the football side of things, Kaep’s abilities are similar to Watson’s. Bill O’Brien has adapted his play calling to fit Watson’s skill set and could possibly do the same for Kaep. With the offensive line being as bad as it is, they need a mobile quarterback to continue to take pressure off of them. And let’s say McNair is down to take the heat in the name of race relations. This could reverberate throughout society by him being a billionaire white man talking to his much younger black quarterback fighting for racial equality about how to help mend some fences that most deem irreparable. Imagine the conversations that could take place as a result of this highly unlikely union? This would be akin to a Hatsfield and a McCoy collaborating on a book on neighborly conduct.

Whether or not this comes to fruition, I only hope it will be done out of mutual respect and a combined effort to help not only race relations, but a franchise’s hope for a successful season, as well as the reputations of two men on opposing sides some hot button issues. These issues have caused enough divisiveness in this country. It’s time to truly attempt to put them to rest. Will Bob McNair and Colin Kaepernick be Jerry Maguire and Rod Tidwell in changing the course of an out of control ship by taking a leap of faith with each other? Or will they be the Caesar and Colonel, doomed to fight until the end of the other’s kind?

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
Willson Contreras could give the Astros some extra pop in the lineup. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

“The Hot Stove League” is the nickname given to Major League Baseball's offseason. In particular, the free agent signing period in late November/early December. Trades are also made during this period. Now that Astros' owner Jim Crane has ousted all opposition to his idea of how things should be run, he's free to do things the way he sees fit.

He opened it by not hiring a general manager to replace James Click. Instead, he opted for a committee of assistant GMs. Those guys are assisted by some special advisors, like former Astros great Jeff Bagwell. Crane likes and wants to take a big swing at things. He'd probably hit about .250 with 30-plus home runs every season. Can't leave out his guaranteed 80-100 strikeouts. Typical power hitter. It's all or nothing, except Crane has been making great contact and knocking some things out of the park.

Signing Jose Abreu was an example. Yuli Gurriel looked as if he was losing the battle with “Father Time” during the regular season. This was an insurance policy at first, and designated hitter. Another prime example is their reported interest in C/DH/LF Willson Contreras. His bat would be a major upgrade over past Astro catchers. Although Martin Maldonado may not be going anywhere, having a quality bat to relieve him is key. Add the fact that he plays some outfield, and he's almost a “two birds with one stone” type of signing.

Abreu may be 35 years old, but he's coming off a year hitting .304 with 15 home runs. Contreras may be the younger of the two at 30, but his .243 average hurts the fact that he hit 22 home runs. Both sport an OPS above .800 for their careers. Bagwell said he wants Yordan Alvarez to play left field 45% of the time. The other 55% can be Contreras, Chas McCormick (assuming Jake Meyers is still in the mix for center field), and whoever else they sign or bring up from Sugar Land. When Contreras isn't in left, he needs to be behind the plate or hitting DH. I'd really love the idea of him sitting under Maldonado's learning tree for a year and taking over catcher long-term. Not many can be the catcher "Machete" is, but hitting 50 points better than him has its advantages.

Then there's the reported interest other teams have in Justin Verlander. Supposedly, the Mets have met with him via Zoom. The Dodgers are interested and are seemingly the leaders in the clubhouse to sign him. However, I wouldn't count Crane and crew out. He may come to JV last minute and offer him something comparable in order to keep him around. He strikes me as the type of guy who'll keep his plays close to the vest, then make a Godfather type of offer. He negotiated Verlander's last deal with the team himself. Coming off a World Series win, Cy Young win, and opting out of said deal, Verlander is most likely looking to get one final payday that'll also land him on a contender.

Having a winner is one thing. Having a winner committed to winning long-term is another. Crane wants to strike while the iron is hot. Sure, he wants his franchise to be sustainable. But he also wants to keep the World Series window open as long as possible. Kyle Tucker's next deal will be one to watch. Having an embarrassment of riches on the pitching staff means you have trade bait. Keep an eye on old Jimmy Crane. I think he might be the best thing to hit Houston sports in quite some time.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome