Will Packers Sign Kaepernick? Probably Not, But They Should Go After Romo

Mike Freeman@@mikefreemanNFLNFL National Lead WriterOctober 15, 2017

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers gets up after being hit by Minnesota Vikings outside linebacker Anthony Barr (55) in the first half of an NFL football game in Minneapolis, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Jim Mone/Associated Press

Not long after Aaron Rodgers was carted off the field Sunday against the Vikings, his season perhaps over due to a broken collarbone, a photo began circulating on social media.  

It was of Milwaukee native Colin Kaepernick.

Specifically, the photo was of a young Kaepernick. He's wearing a Brett Favre jersey and standing in front of Lambeau Field.

During the Carolina-Philadelphia game this past Thursdaythree days before the most dangerous quarterback in football would break his collarboneCBS showed Tony Romo's last pass. Romo responded, joking: "Was it the last pass?"

Well, was it?

Probably. But this is a unique situation. Romo grew up in Wisconsin as a Packers fan. While he wants to be in broadcast television, he still believes he can play, and he probably can.

When Rodgers went down, it instantly transformed the NFL. Green Bay was going to be a force in the division and league, as it has long been with Rodgers at the helm and as it always will be with him. The Packers are, at best, an eight-win team without Rodgers. He is that good and carries them that far by himself.

This is an absolute disaster for the Packers.

However.

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The team can salvage its season by signing one of the two aforementioned free-agent quarterbacks.

You will hear a lot in the coming days about what the Packers will do. During his postgame press conference, head coach Mike McCarthy said Brett Hundley is his quarterback moving forward. If the Packers stick to that, they're deader than Richard Nixon. They're done. The only Brett that will ever win in Green Bay is retired and doing goofy commercials.

Brett Hundley threw for 157 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions in relief for Aaron Rodgers on Sunday.
Brett Hundley threw for 157 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions in relief for Aaron Rodgers on Sunday.Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Brett Favre ain't walking through that door.

It seems unlikely that Kaepernick will, either. Nothing is certain by any stretch. Perhaps the Packers are a perfect team to bring him in. 

But as I reported Sunday, Kaepernick has hired lawyer Mark Geragos and filed a grievance against NFL owners for collusion. Whether he will succeed with that is irrelevant for now. His filing that grievance complicates his potential return to the NFL. It doesn't make a return impossible, but it complicates things.

The Packers would be a perfect landing spot for Kaepernick. Rodgers has been supportive of social activismhe was outspoken when the Packers locked arms two weeks agoand Kaepernick would be popular in that locker room.

But again, it's unlikely Green Bay goes that route. There's a reason why Kaepernick is out of football despite this season's quarterback parade of bums and stiffs.

SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 04:  Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers talks with Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers after their game at Levi's Stadium on October 4, 2015 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Packers will also consider their fanbase. Wisconsin voted for Donald Trump, a vocal Kaepernick critic.

Things get interesting with Romo. Again, if Romo says there's no way he's returning and the Packers say they are sticking with Brett Favre, er, Brett Hundley, don't necessarily believe that. Teams and people say things all the time that are true only in the moment.

Green Bay plays the Saints in Week 7 and then has a bye. That is a tremendous amount of time to try to sway Romo. He will say, "I'm not returning." I promise you. Don't believe it.

If the Packers want him, they could coax him out of retirement.

That bye week would help greatly. The Packers could bring in Romo as late as next week and still have time to work him in.

Otherwise, the Packers might as well bring Favre out of retirement, or sign a cadaver. The free-agent quarterback landscape is bleak. The Buccaneers might need a quarterback, too, with Jameis Winston having suffered a shoulder injury Sunday.

But for the Packers, it's not so much the lack of good options as it is the lack of Rodgers. We'll quickly discover how many problems Rodgers covers up across the entire team. So many different personnel men say no player is a bigger Band-Aid for their team than Rodgers is for the Packers. Not even Tom Brady.

When I spoke with Packers tight end Martellus Bennett earlier this week, he talked about how he hoped his chemistry with Rodgers would improve. 

"A lot of people are saying that I'm off to a slow start," Bennett said. (He had 20 catches for 194 yards and no touchdowns coming into the Vikings game.) "I've had seasons where I've started off slow and ended up fast, and then the opposite of that."

"Aaron and I are still getting on the same page," he continued. "That takes time. It takes time to get on the same iambic pentameter."  

It's a mess for the Packers. A great big mess.

Hey Tony Romo, your phone is ringing.

And ringing.

And ringing.

    

Mike Freeman covers the NFL for Bleacher Report.