Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is still looking for a job, but a future Hall of Famer on a team desperate for a talented starting QB doesn't seem interested in welcoming him. Cleveland Browns veteran Joe Thomas sounded off on Kaepernick's job status on Twitter over the weekend, remarking that NFL teams regard Kaepernick as a potential backup -- not a starter -- and that teams are wary of signing a backup who could potentially cause a "distraction."
On Monday's episode of "Undisputed," Skip Bayless, Shannon Sharpe and Cris Carter reacted to Thomas' remarks.
Shannon Sharpe: How can Joe Thomas call Colin Kaepernick a distraction given his previous teammates?
“To a certain degree, he does [have a point]. Because I am sure there are a lot of general managers, head coaches and owners that feel that what Colin Kaepernick did would be too much of a distraction from their sponsors, from their fanbase.
"But here’s where I want to go. Now this is Joe Thomas, who played on a team with Josh Gordon, Johnny Manziel, Justin Gilbert. And never said a word about ‘distraction.’
"Skip, he said the Cleveland Browns should give Josh Gordon the benefit of the doubt after his fifth suspension. He never mentioned distraction.
"Johnny Manziel showed up drunk to practice. Fact. Late to meetings. Fact. Joe Thomas never mentioned the word distraction.
"Now, Justin Gilbert -- who they selected with the eighth pick three years ago -- they released him, he got signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Steelers released him. [Thomas] comes out, after the fact, ‘When you don’t love football’ ... . After Justin Gilbert had missed all these meetings, after Justin Gilbert had been clowning the day he arrived in Cleveland. I never heard Joe Thomas say distractions.”
Kelvin KuoKelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Shannon Sharpe: Kaepernick has used his platform to help people, yet he's still viewed as a distraction
“It’s easy to say this when you’re here and you’re throwing rocks over there.
"Now here’s Colin Kaepernick. However you want to view it ... say it was disrespectful to the flag and he disrespected the veterans -- although he told you that was not his purpose.
"What about the million dollar [pledge]? Is that still a distraction? That he donated to a worthy cause? What about the 60,000 pounds of food … for the famine going on in Somalia? You still view him as a distraction? He took his money that he got from his jersey and his likeness and donated to a worthy cause, but you still view him as a distraction.”
Kelvin KuoKelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Shannon Sharpe: Distractions are overshadowed by a losing culture in Cleveland
“Josh Gordon was suspended five times, Joe Thomas never uttered the word distraction.
"… Distractions don’t really happen in Cleveland, you know why? Because since Joe Thomas has been there, they’ve won less than five games (every year). So you can have a monkey riding a bike and a lion juggling, and nobody’s going to care because the they’re still going to ask you why this sorry team hasn’t won any ballgames.
"So it’s easy for Joe Thomas to try to throw shade on Colin Kaepernick now. But when he has these guys on his roster, he never uttered the word distraction.”
Jake RothJake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Cris Carter: Joe Thomas is underestimating Colin Kaepernick
“It is kind of ironic that Joe would come out and speak against another player on another team who is trying to get a job. The one point you didn’t bring up is talent, because I’m just wondering -- in Joe’s tenure, how many quarterbacks has he played with that were actually better? Because I know Joe is a talent evaluator, I know he knows how to evaluate what a starter is and what a backup is, but how many quarterbacks has he had on his roster since he was drafted that were better thank Colin Kaepernick?
"But all of a sudden, Kaepernick is a backup?”
Kyle TeradaKyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Cris Carter: Continually losing is the biggest distraction of all
“Let’s think about the quarterbacks who were in Cleveland. Not only the lack of being able to play the game at a high level, but also, isn’t that a distraction? Because the No. 1 thing in the NFL is to play football and to play well, right? They pay you not to practice, not to play in the games … they pay you in the NFL to win.
Shannon Sharpe: “So where’s losing on that distraction scale?”
Cris Carter: “I mean it seems like it would fit in, because it’s about talent."
Kelley L CoxKelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Cris Carter: Joe Thomas may not be the best talent evaluator
“Even last year when they signed RG3, did they think he was a better pickup than Colin Kaepernick would be? Because there’s somewhat of a distraction [there], and somewhat of a ‘what kind of player is he?’ People thought RG3 was a backup. So did Joe go to the front office and say, ‘Hey, you know this guy you just signed? He’s a backup, he’s not a starter.’
"So, for me, be careful Joe. I know you’ve played every snap since you’ve been there and everything, but you haven’t won nothing. And as far as evaluating talent and things like that …”
Charles LeClaireCharles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Skip Bayless: A quarter of NFL teams would be better with Kaepernick as the starter
“I did not like it that Joe Thomas took thatstand in a public forum. I think he also fell into the Twitter trap. He was kind of doing a Q&A with his followers back and forth and then all of a sudden you go send, boom. ‘Oh, wait a second, what I really meant to say was this and this.’ And you just keep digging the hole a little deeper and a little deeper. But in this case, you’re both exactly right.
"I’ve said this before. At this moment, Kaepernick is better than, I don’t know, six or eight starters now? I don’t get that. I do get his premise of a point about a distraction, and I’m going to put this in a very positive form.
"Has there ever been a more powerful spokesman for the cause that we’ve talked about again and again on this show, unarmed black men being killed by white cops? Has there ever been a more powerful spokesman than Colin Kaepernick became early last season? He was on the cover of Time magazine. He had positive national if not international impact for the stance, the literal stance that he took. It was powerful, he had impact. He is now seen as a lightning rod activist.”