“In The Scope With Joshua M. Hicks” is a weekly column from the Managing Editor of WARR
Eastern Illinois alumnus and celebrated New England backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was traded mid-season to the San Francisco 49ers after the Patriots failed to sign him to an extension. Garoppolo played extremely well in the final six games on his new team, which led him to make history this off-season with a new five-year, $135 million contract that made him the highest-paid quarterback in the National Football League.
I am completely happy for Jimmy G’s new pay raise, however, just as his contract sets a new market for quarterbacks across the NFL, it also shines light on the negative, true colors of the league.
Quarterbacks Drew Brees, Nick Foles, Case Keenum and Kirk Cousins are hitting the free agent market on March 14 and with Jimmy G’s deal, he is set to get more money than all of them with less game experience than all of them and less Super Bowl wins than two of them. Brees and Cousins are examples of free agents that have long-term proven resumes of success and will be looking for the big deals they deserve. Since Jimmy G’s young resume gets him the type of long-term deal he garnered, Foles and Keenum have great opportunities to heavily pursue the max money deals they feel they are worth.
But there is one player who is a free agent that deserves a job in the NFL and won’t likely be factored into all of that new money — Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick shook the NFL culture for good due to his willingness to use his world-wide platform to protest against the inequalities suffered by black citizens and other citizens of color cause of out of control police departments nationwide and he is still currently unemployed after he was allegedly blackballed by the NFL this past season for “being a distraction.”
Kaep may not be worth max money, but we must evaluate the definition of success and worth within the NFL.
Many critics questioned Kaepernick’s skillset, saying he cannot play the game and help their team win. Jimmy G within his six starts this past season on the 49ers, finished with 67.4 completion percentage, 1,560 total yards, seven touchdowns, five interceptions and 96.2 passing rating. Kaepernick in his last six games before he was benched had a 65.1 completion percentage, 1,305 total yards, nine touchdowns, two interceptions and the same passer rating at 96.2. They both have identical numbers and Kaepernick has more than at least five tons more rushing yards, yet he is not worth hiring.
In the year of the backup, Minnesota Vikings backup QB Keenum took his team to the NFC Championship game after replacing Sam Bradford due to injury. Philadelphia Eagles backup QB Foles led the Eagles to their first national championship and became Super Bowl MVP. Both are heading into free agency unrestricted and both players had breakout seasons, but neither have the resume of Kaepernick statistically.
In Keenum’s six seasons in the league, he has a 61.9 completion percentage, 8,771 total yards, 46 touchdowns, 27 interceptions and an 86 passing rating. In Foles’ six seasons, he has a 60.1 completion percentage, 9,752 total yards, 61 touchdowns, 29 interceptions and an 87.1 passing rating.
Kaepernick’s career stats, which is also six seasons in the league, he has a 59.8 completion percentage, 12, 271 total yards, 72 touchdowns, 30 interceptions and an 88.9 passing rating, not to mention he has postseason experience with leading the 49ers to Super Bowl XLVII, has three times more rushing yards than all three quarterbacks combined and has better season stats than half of the quarterbacks that started last season.
The true reality behind the league’s blackballing of Kaepernick is no secret. Kaepernick can still play at a high level, even as a backup, but continues to be unemployed, as well as other protestors. As we approach free agency, if his talents continue to be overlooked based on his beliefs, and backup quarterbacks-turned-starters like Foles and Keenum follow Jimmy G’s lead and get max money, Kaepernick’s true worth, will continue to be underestimated, adding more fire to the already negative testament the league cannot die out.
Joshua M. Hicks is a Chicago-based sports writer and broadcaster, follow him on Twitter @jhicks042; Follow We Are Regal Radio on Twitter @regalradio1 and on Facebook under We Are Regal Radio