Photo Combo: Antonio Brown (L) by Michael Reaves/Getty Images/AFP | Colin Kaepernick (R) by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images/AFP
Will Colin Kaepernick or Antonio Brown land a contract first in 2020?
Comeback Player of the Year Award Odds:
Odds on Colin Kaepernick and Antonio Brown winning AP’s Comeback Player of the Year award are making the rounds of several online sportsbooks, but neither player has put pen to paper with an NFL team — at least, not yet.
Admittedly, without actual contracts to their credit, it does feel a bit premature to quantify either player’s chances of formally competing for the award in the upcoming 2020 season. Not to mention, how does one account for certain glaring drawbacks posed by each player: inactivity and questionable form (Kaepernick hasn’t played in almost four years, while Brown hasn’t played since being summarily cut by the New England Patriots last September); and controversy in signing (each player promises a level of a distraction for a team, one that may not be welcome and/or detrimental).
Let’s also not forget, due to rising Covid-19 cases in the United States, once again, a lot is up in the air. Assuming one (or both) does sign a deal, how much of an impact on the upcoming season can be legitimately expected, when coaching contact, playbook study, and team practice is bound to be limited.
And yet, it’s fair to say, both Kaepernick and AB are undeniable talents, both having played in a Super Bowl game at least once in their respective careers. Antonio Brown reached Super Bowl XLV in his rookie year with the Pittsburgh Steelers (l.to Green Bay Packers); Kaepernick led San Francisco 49ers to Super Bowl XLVII (l. to Baltimore Ravens)
More recently, both players have, one way or another, separately grabbed headlines: Black Lives Matter protests have revived the debate Kaepernick’s activism sought to raise four years ago and, in turn, cast an unfavorable light on the league’s dispassionate response to the quarterback’s then protest against social injustice and police brutality; while Brown has been working out with several noteworthy quarterbacks and posting videos of his football prowess.
BetOnline Sportsbook tips Antonio Brown among top 10 bets to clinch the honor (See below table of BetOnline Sportsbook odds). Even going so far as to price Brown better than players that are presently signed onto a roster — such as, Andy Dalton, who signed with the Dallas Cowboys during this offseason to be Dak Prescott’s understudy.
Bovada Sportsbook, meanwhile, has both Colin Kaepernick and Antonio Brown amongst its Top 10 best bets. Intriguingly, Kaepernick is priced considerably shorter than Brown for this NFL betting market. With Bovada, Kaepernick is priced at +1200 while Brown is priced at +2000.
Top 10 Favorites for Comeback Player of the Year Odds:
Colin Kaepernick has been unemployed by the NFL since the end of the 2016 season, after the act of ‘taking the knee’ during the national anthem, which sparked controversy, put time on his NFL career. Nothing was made official by the league but, whichever way one sliced it, the prevalent feeling was of commonly accepted mandate: an organizational, blanket-wide ban on NFL teams to ever sign Kaepernick to their rosters.
Four years on, since San Francisco 49ers moved on from the quarterback at the end of the 2016 season, not a single team seems bold enough yet to give Kaepernick a shot. This despite Roger Goodell twice taking to social media in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests — once to apologize for getting the act of ‘taking the knee’ wrong, and another time to “encourage” a team to sign Kaepernick.
Granted teams that could sign Kaepernick are being floated by the punditocracy, various NFL experts and the like. Teams such as Los Angeles Chargers, Baltimore Ravens, Minnesota Vikings, Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans, to name a few, have all been identified as possible landing spots.
NFL Network’s Mike Silver even suggested last month teams were researching Kaepernick, reaching out to his associates and having conversations. Sadly, to date, no team has directly reached out to the quarterback.
The only organization to be so brave and get into talks with Kaepernick is one that is outside of the realm of football: Disney has had the wherewithal to team up with Kaepernick for a series on racial and social injustice.
The AB Saga
Once again, the Antonio Brown rumor mill is churning, following the release of a workout video last week with Russell Wilson on social media that caused a ripple effect within NFL media and NFL betting circles.
Posted on Instagram with a caption reading, “Who would like to see this on Sundays? That was fun!!!!!!,” Brown is seen catching a pass from Seahawks’ starting quarterback Russell Wilson. The video has since been retweeted hundreds of times and seen by thousands, prompting mixed reviews and much discussion.
Obviously, working out with Russell Wilson moves Seattle Seahawks to the forefront of the queue — not to mention, underscores any Antonio Brown odds that may be trading with any number of top-rated sportsbooks. Wilson reportedly is an avid Brown supporter, saying he would “love” it if the receiver were signed to the team.
Brown even worked out with backup Geno Smith, which only stoked the flames further. Picture this: receiving trio of Brown, Tyler Lockett, and DK Metcalf. How lethal for opposing defenses would Seattle Seahawks’ offense be then?
Previously, common consensus had Tampa Bay Buccaneers as Brown’s top destination, on account of his perceived chummy relationship with Tom Brady. Then, spring brought about workouts with Lamar Jackson that put a spanner in the works, propelling the Baltimore Ravens as a possible destination instead. Jackson apparently said at the time he too would “love” it if the receiver were signed to the team.
And lately, more teams are beginning to crawl out of the woodworks, adding to the element of intrigue connected with the mercurial and controversial player, and where he might possibly play next season. Most notably, Houston Texans are now on the scene.
As early as the weekend, the first indication of a budding move to Houston emerged. Such, that it’s apparently caught approving attention from quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Houston’s signal caller, is – let’s face it – short of weapons, ever since Bill O’Brien made the stunning, head-scratching decision to ship his go-to-target, DeAndre Hopkins, to Arizona.
Watson must be absolutely desperate for an elite weapon or two to throw to, and having Antonio Brown on the field catching his passes would go some way towards assuaging any anxiety he may have felt over his team’s 2020 prospects that plunged in NFL betting markets after O’Brien took away his favorite on-field toy.
It’s fair to say, replacing Hopkins with Brown would be considered an upgrade by NFL experts. That said no workout videos between Watson and Brown have cropped up, despite social media stirring the rumor pot. And the Texans’ prospects remain grim for 2020.
Potential NFL Destinations for Kaepernick and AB?
It’s worth mentioning, Brown is still essentially in limbo; his NFL status, in relation to various charges he’s facing over the last year, remains uncertain, as he continues to await official word from the NFL on any disciplinary action.
By contrast, Kaepernick appears to be cleared of any wrongdoing by the powers that be in the league, and he was publicly given Goodell’s support to find a job in the league.
To a certain extent, the odds reflect these conditions, lifting Kaepernick’s chances of signing with a team above Brown’s. That said, the truth of the matter – so far, at least – is that Brown is getting more playing attention from his peers, while Kaepernick is only getting his due (long overdue, mind) lip service.
Where Kaepernick or Brown land (if at all) is something of a hot topic. Fans around the country have been left wondering about the future of these two very talented NFL playmakers in their own right. There’s a lot to recommend both quarterback and wide receiver, and each is sure to make an impact on any team’s bottom-line. But only time will tell which player will be first to put pen to paper with a team in 2020.