Authors: Matt Pitarresi, Kevin Heffernan

Do you want to be the laughing stock of the league forever? Or get over your fear that the kind of people who burn (but are too righteous to donate) their own shoes to protest Nike won’t like you?

From the moment both men arrived on the scene in Buffalo, Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane have preached winning both in the short term and the long term.  They practiced what the preached in their first season with the club, nimbly walking that tightrope en route to a surprising (and let’s be honest, an overachieving) 9-7 record, and the first playoff berth this century in Buffalo. Fun times all around!

Since then, every available sign has indicated the formula now skews much more heavily toward the future; trading away cornerstones of the previous regime (Sammy Watkins, Marcell Dareus, Cordy Glenn, Tyrod Taylor), letting others leave via free agency with no effort to resign them (Preston Brown), and replacing them with their own draft picks.  Such is the nature of regime change in the NFL, but McBeane has taken things to a new level:

Using the draft capital acquired by all those moves to maneuver to #7 in the draft in order to select Josh Allen as the QB of the future was the clearest proof yet that the organization ‘s plan was longer term; despite what you thought about his ultimate NFL potential, most everyone agreed Allen needed time to work out flaws in his game.  Allen learning from the sideline in 2018, at least for several weeks, seemed to be part of The Process.

And yet, despite what they were DOING, the men in charge of the Bills kept SAYING the plan remained the same; win now, and win in the future.  If Allen developing his game represents winning in the future, then surely the McBeane brain trust thought Nathan Peterman showed enough during the summer’s QB competition to help the Bills win now.  We saw how that went on Sunday in Baltimore.

In three career starts, Peterman has been historically bad in two of them (when your best NFL performance ends with being knocked out with a concussion, things have not gone well).  On Sunday, he couldn’t muster a single first down, even after the Ravens spotted the Bills offense five free yards on 1st down.  But hey, at least that 0.0 passer rating landed him a spot among some of the best ever at his position (for the record, no, it is not possible to have a negative passer rating, despite how hard he’s tried).  If McDermott looks at the tape and comes the conclusion Peterman still gives them a shot to win anything other than the 1st overall pick next season, it’s fair to question whether he’s the man to lead them to any wins in the future.

If McBeane are truly committed to winning both now and in the future, what can they do?  Well, there’s a certain Nike spokesperson who’s proven capable of winning games in the NFL that is looking for work.  Yes, the Bills should consider signing Colin Kaepernick.

Of course, Kaepernick is a polarizing figure, and a media circus is sure to follow him if he were to sign with the Bills, or any team for that matter.  But the weekly horror show of Peterman being “thrown to the wolves”, as CBS’ Boomer Esiason ruthlessly noted at halftime on Sunday, isn’t exactly the kind of national exposure a team is looking for.  Layer on top of that the inevitable calls for Allen to start, and the Bills will have themselves a media circus even if they stand pat with Peterman.

And shouldn’t a locker room with the type of culture McDermott’s been building be able to absorb, manage, and rise above the media exposure that comes with signing Colin Kaepernick.  Shouldn’t an organization that values culture and high-integrity at the level McDermott professes WANT a guy like Kaep? Because make no mistake, despite the narratives created to discredit him, Kaepernick’s protest is in no way a slight to our flag, our country, or our troops.  Those that believe so are willfully ignoring all the evidence to refute that.

Think objectively for a moment. Please.  

In just his second NFL season, Kaepernick led the 49ers to a Super Bowl.  His stats in that game? 16/28 passing for 302 yards and a TD, with one interception.  He added 62 yards and another TD rushing. You know, the kind of stats that Peterman could, MAYBE, put up in the preseason.  At his best in 2013 and 2014, Kaep was good for right around the vaunted 60% completion percentage, over 3,000 yards, and at least a 2-1 TD-INT ratio.  That doesn’t even factor in his rushing ability. Even his last appearance in the league, in 2016, saw him finish with a 59.2% completion percentage and 4-1 TD/INT ratio.  His performances outclass Peterman’s in every conceivable way. He hasn’t played since that 2016 season, but despite the time off, it’s a very safe assumption that he provides the Bills a hell of a lot more as a QB than Nathan Peterman, or any other free agent QB* the Bills may bring in off the street.  He’s also the exact type of big bodied, big armed, yet mobile QB prototype that would do Josh Allen a lot of good learning from; much more so than a Nathan Peterman.

– – –

Your anger with Kaepernick and the other players in the league (there are hundreds) who kneel is misplaced. You know it is. It’s more convenient to call someone ungrateful, disrespectful, unpatriotic and watch the conversation spiral out of control than it is to speak earnestly about inequality and injustice based on race in our country.

Kaepernick, who has donated over $1,000,000 of his own money (not just served as a face of a fundraiser) to community development programs around the country, has made it extremely clear, as have all the other players who kneel, that this has nothing to do with our armed forces. Most of these players have close family in the armed forces, but Fox News wants you to believe something different.

You’re better than that, and smarter than that. Let the man play, and let him kneel. Unarmed black people are being killed by police indiscriminately in our country every day, but you’re going to side step all of that, and get more upset over some guy kneeling while we sing a song about losing the War of 1812?

And go 0-16 to boot.