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It's Not Too Late to Get Colin Kaepernick Eagles Fans
Yes, I know the NFL trade deadline passed at 4 pm EST today, but for those Eagles fans who desperately want San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to be their QB, I'm here to tell you it's not too late.
I'm also here to tell you what a horrible idea that is. But if you really want an athletic QB who isn't much of a passer, then your Eagles can still get him.......for next season.
Honestly, anyone who thought the Eagles were going to trade for Kaepernick, and judging from the media and the dopes on sports talk radio there were a lot of you, was delusional. Trades rarely happen in the NFL and trading for a starting QB never happens during the season. The reason for that is that unlike other sports, the NFL is ridiculously complicated, especially at the QB position. There are just too many plays to memorize for someone to come in and learn an entire offense quickly enough during a season to make an immediate impact.
While the Eagles won't be getting Kaepernick this season, they can always get him in the offseason. How? Let me explain.
Prior to the 2014 season, the 49ers signed Kaepernick to a "record" seven-year, $126 million deal. A whopping $61 million of that was said to be guaranteed, but the word "guaranteed" doesn't exactly mean what you think it means when it comes to NFL contracts.
You see, every offseason, San Francisco is free to release Kaepernick and not owe him another dime. The contract isn't so much a seven-year, $126 million deal, as it is a one-year, $13 million deal with six option years attached to it. The 49ers can cut their "franchise" QB before April 1, 2016 and they wouldn't owe him anything. He is scheduled to make $14.3 million, including bonuses next year, but if the team releases him, they only take a $9.4 million salary cap hit.
Kaepernick's stats have gone down steadily since he signed his contract. How often he throws a touchdown has declined two straight years and his INTs per pass has increased each season. He is definitely trending in the wrong direction and the 49ers still owe him $100 million
There is also the little fact that the 49ers benched Kaepernick today for the immortal Blaine Gabbert. Even for a team with a 2-6 record, that is astounding. At this point, you have to wonder if the 49ers are going to tank the remainder of their season. After all, the retirement of several key defensive players this past offseason gutted the team and now they have seemingly lost faith in the guy who was once the face of their franchise and leading them to the Super Bowl.
That brings us to the Eagles.
Personally, the last thing I want is for the Eagles to bring in Colin Kaepernick as their QB. He stinks, but the school of thought is that he would be the perfect fit for Chip Kelly's offense. And that's the real problem here; Chip Kelly.
I don't think the Eagles will ever be a great team under Kelly. It only took NFL defenses one offseason to figure out his gimmicky offense, as evidenced by the rapid decline of the Eagles offense last season. The offensive ineptitude has continued this season, with the aid of all the radical personnel changes that Kelly made in the offseason as the new GM.
Oh sure. Sam Bradford has looked horrible, but he's still better than Kaepernick has been. I get the fact that Bradford can't run, at all, and maybe Kaepernick would spark the offense with the threat that he could actually keep the ball on a read-option. But even though Kaepernick has never been hurt in the NFL, how long will his luck last? Running QBs simply don't stay healthy in the NFL, with the size and speed of the defensive players.
There is also the fact that history shows us that running QBs don't win in the NFL. Sure, guys like Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers can run, but they can also throw the ball. Wilson isn't in the same class as Rodgers as a passer and the Seahawks sudden look ordinary now that their defense isn't as dominating and Marshawn Lynch has lost a step or two. Eagles fans only need to look back a few seasons to see the utter failure of the Michael Vick experiment. If you don't admit that Vick was never a great QB, then I don't know how to educate you on the very basic elements of playing QB in the NFL. You have to be able to read defenses and throw accurately and with touch to be successful. Much like Vick, Kaepernick has never shown an ability to read defenses or show any sort of touch on his passes. If he did, do you think he'd be backing up Blaine Gabbert right now?
Finally, there is the matter of Chip Kelly's giant, bloated ego. He traded Nick Foles and a 2nd round pick to the Rams for Bradford. Personally, I still believe he did that because he thought he could flip Bradford in a package to trade up with Tennessee to draft Marcus Mariota. That didn't work out so well, did it? So now, if Kelly doesn't sign Bradford to a new contract after this season, he would be admitting that he made a mistake. Of course, the real mistake was trading for Bradford in the first place, but that's not the point here.
The point is that the Eagles can still get Colin Kaepernick to be their starting quarterback. They'll just have to wait until next season for that to become a reality.
Who should be the Eagles QB in 2016?
Bradford will obviously want more than $15 per year on a multi-year deal and there will probably be another franchise dumb enough to give it to him. Finding a QB is hard, just ask Chip Kelly. He's had a different starting QB at the beginning of each of his three seasons in the NFL. Kelly can always let Bradford go and say he just couldn't allot that much money to one position. (How is that working out at WR, where he said that about letting Jeremy Maclin go?) Kaepernick, on the other hand, won't get anywhere near that kind of money. Besides his poor play this season, whispers coming out of the 49ers locker room have all been negative regarding the QB. He may have to settle for a short-term deal with lots of incentives to build back up his reputation. And that's where we get back to Kelly's ego.
Kelly can soothe his ego for the horrible Bradford trade by trying to resurrect Kaepernick's career. Honestly, Kaepernick would be a nice fit in Kelly's offense. The threat of him running would help the running game overall and possibly even the passing game, although his limitations as a passer would negate that. Unfortunately, it's obvious that the offense Kelly ran in college doesn't work in the NFL. So where does that leave us?
Unfortunately for Eagles fans, that leaves them in a quagmire.
If Kelly keeps Bradford, he'll have to improve more than any athlete has ever improved from their first year with a team to their second, in the history of sports. He has been that awful. If Kelly lets Bradford leave and signs Kaepernick, that means even more of a gimmicky offense that NFL defenses have proven they have figured out how to stop.
Personally, I hope Kelly goes back to college, where he belongs, and leaves the dumpster fire that is the Eagles roster behind for someone else to rebuild. (Hey, Howie Roseman is still around isn't he?) That way, the rebuilding can begin immediately, instead of delaying the inevitable by Kelly staying and failing with Kaepernick.
If you disagree, then tell me how you now feel about the Phillies holding on to the hope that they could still win with their aging roster the last few seasons, instead of blowing it up and starting the necessary rebuilding process as soon as possible.
Colin Kaepernick is not the answer to all the Eagles' problems. As a matter of fact, he might just be the worst possible (read) option.