After the Patrick Mahomes contract, the Chiefs need a reliable backup QB. Enter Colin Kaepernick.
With a 10-year, $503 million contract extension for Patrick Mahomes, the Kansas City Chiefs locked in the face of their franchise through 2031. This deal — with $477 million in guarantee mechanisms — is a risky one due to its length, but barring injury or unlikely/unexpected regression from a bona fide superstar, the Chiefs are set at starting quarterback for the next 12 years.
However, as unlikely as it is for a 24-year-old who’s won an MVP award and a Super Bowl ring within his first two years as an NFL starter to regress in the middle of his prime, it’s that “barring injury” part that should concern the Chiefs.
As thrilling as their playoff run was, filled with comeback win after comeback win, there was a point last year when Kansas City’s season was up in the air. The reason? Mahomes was dealing with a dislocated patella, forcing him to miss two games and play several more through the injury.
To be fair, the Chiefs actually fared okay without Mahomes. When backup QB Matt Moore took over for an injured Mahomes in Week 7, he helped lead KC to a 30-6 win over the Denver Broncos, going 10-of-19 for 117 yards and a touchdown pass. In Week 8, his first start, he tallied 267 yards and two TDs in a close loss to the Green Bay Packers, and the following week, he led the Chiefs to a 26-23 victory over the Minnesota Vikings with 275 passing yards and a touchdown.
However, the Broncos were miserable last year, and the Chiefs were already up 10-6 with the ball on Denver’s five-yard line when Mahomes got hurt. Moore performed well enough in his two starts to help Kansas City get the 1-1 split without their superstar, but that certainly wasn’t enough to prove he deserves to be “the guy” behind Mahomes for a Super Bowl contender. More importantly, Moore is no longer on the roster, leaving the likes of Chad Henne and Jordan Ta’amu as emergency options.
Colin Kaepernick deserves the chance to be that guy for the Chiefs.
Colin Kaepernick hasn’t played since the 2016 NFL season, but for a team that needs a reliable backup if such a high portion of the salary cap goes down, he’s one of the best options available. Why not keep the good vibes flowing after Mahomes’ gaudy extension by signing the talented outcast whose silent protests made him a scapegoat for the league and are only now being revealed for the heroic stance they actually represented?
The Chiefs are evaluating any potential backup from a position of power thanks to Mahomes’ incredible talent, and signing Kaepernick would be a perfect way to welcome him back into the league and get his feet wet again.
He also makes sense from a football perspective, not only because he’d be cheap for a team devoting a large portion of its salary cap to one player, but also because he’d be a tremendous fit in Andy Reid’s dynamic offense. His mobility and arm strength could make him a natural addition, and getting to learn from Mahomes and watch him work would only raise that ceiling.
The Chiefs have their guy under center for the foreseeable future, but injury can strike at any moment. Having a guy to back Mahomes up like Kaep, who’s played under pressure with six playoff games and a Super Bowl appearance under his belt, would be a luxury and potential high-reward situation if they ever needed to turn to their backup.
It could be Kaepernick’s gateway back into the league too, since teams still seem hesitant to welcome him back. Whether that’s due to the anthem protests, the media attention or the fact that he hasn’t played professional football since 2016 is unclear, but whatever the reason, the NFL’s blackballing of Colin Kaepernick needs to end. After the Mahomes contract, the Chiefs are as good a landing spot as any.