Colin Kaepernick is the Perfect Backup Quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs
Mark Van Sickle
Colin Kaepernick could be the perfect backup quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs. Don’t let that sentence scare you. It actually makes a lot of sense from a football perspective in regard to how the Chiefs' roster is currently constructed and who is coaching the team.
The Chiefs are set at starting quarterback with reigning Super Bowl MVP and former league MVP Patrick Mahomes II. There is no competition or quarterback controversy to be had. However, the Chiefs currently have journeyman Chad Henne as their backup quarterback and former University of Mississippi and St. Louis BattleHawks (XFL) quarterback Jordan Ta’amu as their third option. There is room for competition at the backup spot. But some of Kaepernick’s critics are concerned that he hasn’t played in the NFL since the 2016 season. Well, Ta’amu has never played a down in the NFL, and Henne hasn’t started a game since 2014. Nick Wright, a Kansas City native and host of First Things First on Fox Sports 1, pointed out that Kaepernick has actually played more than Henne over the past four seasons.
But would Kaepernick be a fit in Andy Reid’s offense? Think back to 2013, when the Chiefs hired Reid and then traded for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith. Reid thought he could mold Smith and take his game to the next level. Kaepernick had just taken over the starting job in San Francisco after he showcased his skills as a dual-threat quarterback who had a stronger arm than Smith. Would anyone doubt Reid’s ability to get the most out of Kaepernick in a backup role? Reid has previously taken a dual-threat quarterback who has been out of the league for a few years and re-ignited his career. Anyone remember Michael Vick playing for the Eagles? Vick was supposed to be a backup in Philadelphia but was thrust into the starting role after an injury to the starter. It’s always good to be prepared.
Kapernick has a knack for improvising, a trait many believe makes Mahomes so special. He has the ability to make a play when things break down.
He can run for a 90-yard touchdown.
He can throw a perfect strike to the back of the end zone while jumping off one leg.
He can even let it fly while sitting in the pocket. It isn't hard to envision a Kaepernick-to-Tyreek Hill connection if given the chance.
In one of his most recent workouts for NFL teams, he showcased his ability to throw the deep ball with accuracy.
Kaepernick’s naysayers discuss him being a distraction in the locker room or by bringing a media circus off the field. This seems to be a grossly overstated and exaggerated part of the process. Kaepernick would be joining the team as a backup quarterback. Everyone in the room knows Mahomes is the man. The Chiefs haven’t been without off-field distractions the past few offseasons, but they managed to survive the media frenzy and win a Super Bowl. One of the team's most vocal leaders, Tyrann Mathieu, has already stated his support for Kaepernick. Team camaraderie would be a non-issue if Kaepernick were brought into the Chiefs' locker room.
Some say Kaepernick won’t take a backup job or take a league minimum salary. This was a wild offseason when it came to veteran free-agent quarterbacks in the NFL. There were so many notable starting-caliber quarterbacks available. A couple of those names, Jameis Winston and Cam Newton, were the last ones to sign deals with new teams. Winston signed a one-year $1.1 million base salary contract with the Saints. Newton, who signed with the Patriots and is expected to compete for the starting job, could make $7.5 million with incentives, but the base contract is even less than Winston's at $1.05 million. Several things stand out here, but the common factor is that they weren’t getting larger, long-term offers and ended up signing smaller deals with teams expected to be contenders. Why wouldn’t Kaepernick want to sign a cheaper one- or two-year deal and be part of a potential dynasty in Kansas City? He can rebuild his career under Andy Reid and look to get a bigger contract elsewhere later. Smith was able to get a four-year, $94 million contract from Washington right before his age 34 season after resurrecting his career under Reid. The timeline would be similar for Kaepernick if he were to sign a two-year contract with the Chiefs.
At this point, there doesn’t seem to be a downside for either party to talk about the possibilities of coming together. Kaepernick is looking to get back into the league and the Chiefs could have one of the best backup quarterbacks in the NFL as insurance for Mahomes. The combination of offseason events and social acceptance from the league would make the Chiefs and Kaepernick a perfect match.