RENTON, Wash. — Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin said Tuesday that he believes Colin Kaepernick‘s decision to kneel for the national anthem last season is only a “minor” reason why the quarterback remains unsigned.
“I can’t say that it doesn’t [factor in] completely,” Baldwin said. “I think yeah, to some degree. But it’s really minor. There’s 32 teams out there. Not all of them really care about that. So I have no doubt in my mind that he’s going to have a job here rather quickly.”
The Seahawks are the only team that has brought Kaepernick in for a free-agent visit. Coach Pete Carroll said last week that right now, the organization has no plans to sign him. The team did sign quarterback Austin Davis on Monday.
Baldwin echoed Carroll’s statement that Kaepernick is a starting-caliber quarterback.
“It’s the business of the NFL,” the veteran wideout said. “Right now you have a lot of young guys who are looking for opportunities. The organizations, they’re going to be giving the younger quarterbacks and younger guys the first or second look. They know what Colin can do. They know that he’s a starter in this league. So they’re going to give every opportunity for the young guys to compete, show their talents and then whatever falls, then he’ll get an opportunity once all this dust settles.”
Baldwin also discussed a recent ESPN The Magazine article that detailed some of the divisions in the Seahawks’ locker room. He admitted there have been issues but downplayed their seriousness and pointed to the competitive environment that Carroll and general manager John Schneider have created.
“If I’m speaking candidly, yes, do we have issues in our locker room? Do we have arguments and disagreements? Of course,” Baldwin said. “Every locker room does. What I think makes our locker room so great is that we are transparent. We are up front with each other. We do hold each other to a high standard of accountability. And sometimes from the outside, it doesn’t look healthy. But I think that’s why we’ve been so successful.
“It is a fine line. It is a very fine line. Again, to Pete and John’s credit, they’ve created an environment that cultivates that, that pushes you to that line. But once we touch it, we always come back. We always come back to center. And we always refocus. At the end of the day, we all know what we’re fighting for. And we can always get back together and head in that direction. So yes, it is a fine balance, but I think we’ve done a masterful job.”
Richard Sherman‘s inability to let go of Super Bowl XLIX was one of the topics in the ESPN The Magazine article. Sherman was also the subject of trade talks this offseason.
Baldwin was asked if he’s seen a difference in the cornerback.
“He’s just old,” Baldwin said jokingly. “He’s losing some hair, getting some gray hairs. That’s about it. He’s still the fantastic teammate that he’s always been. Obviously an outstanding player on the football field. So there’s really nothing different. When all this stuff came out, I know you guys thought that maybe there’d be some internal issues, but really it passed over like it was nothing. We understand in the locker room that there’s always going to be things coming out, and we understand that we have each other’s back in that locker room. So it really wasn’t even a discussion.”