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The Patriots Should Stay the Course and Not Sign Kaepernick

This has been a difficult time for our country over the last two weeks. The horrific and unnecessary death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police department has awaken the masses. Millions have taken to the streets to organize, protest and be heard regarding race relations in our country.

The sports world has been affected by this as well. Many have spoken out against Floyd’s death and the racism that still exists in our country. Former 49ers starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s name has come up a lot again since Floyd’s death with media, politicians and fans calling for an NFL franchise to sign the 32-year-old quarterback. The problem is does a 32-year-old quarterback who hasn’t played a down in the NFL since 2016 have value in the NFL right now? 

Kaepernick hasn’t been on an NFL roster since 2016. This was the same year he began to protest and take a knee in a pre-season game for the 49ers. That season, Kaepernick became the target of scrutiny and praise for his decision to peaceful protest and take a knee during the playing of the country’s National Anthem. Before coming into that season Kaepernick was coming off of surgeries on his thumb, knee and shoulder. He had lost weight and was being integrated into a new office led by Chip Kelly. That season he would finish with a 59.2 passing percentage, he threw 16 touchdowns to four interceptions and rushed for 468 yards. The 49ers would release Kaepernick after they hired Kyle Shanahan to be their next head football coach citing he didn’t fit the new coach’s system. 

Kaepernick would never play another down in the NFL. He would eventually go onto sue the NFL for being “blackballed” and not being signed by any franchise. The league and Kaepernick settled their lawsuit and grievance. 

Last November he would undergo a workout in Atlanta-area for NFL coaches and scouts. He left that with no offer and he was still a free agent. 

Following Floyd’s death, Kaepernick weighed in on Instagram writing, “When civility leads to death, revolting is the only logical reaction. The cries for peace will rain down. When they do, they will land on deaf ears because your violence has brought this resistance. We have the right to fight back! Rest in power George Floyd.” Kaepernick has arguably done more through being an activist and helping to get the message of his cause out there than he ever did in the NFL. 

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement on Friday regarding Black Lives Matter and the way his league handled the protests, “We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people,” Goodell said. “We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest.”

“We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter. I personally protest with you and want to be part of the much-needed change in this country. Without black players, there would be no National Football League. And the protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality and oppression of black players, coaches, fans and staff,” said Goodell. 

The former quarterback wants to play in the league again. To be honest, there isn’t any reason he shouldn’t be on a roster. 

Kaepernick has been linked to many teams over the years in the media but nothing came to fruition for him. The Seattle Seahawks have been linked to him and it would be a good fit with Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson in the locker room. The New England Patriots are constantly mentioned by fans and now media in light of Floyd’s death as a dancing partner for Kaepernick.

Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy is calling for the Patriots to sign Kaepernick. He took to social media and tweeted, “The NFL should apologize to Colin Kaepernick and the Patriots should sign him.” To sign him for any reason other than for a football decision and that he’d make an impact on the Patriots roster isn’t the right thing for the New England Patriots. 

Kaepernick in New England for me doesn’t make sense. The Patriots clearly want to see what they have in Jarrett Stidham at quarterback. Brian Hoyer is insurance because he knows the teams system. If Bill Belichick thought Kaepernick could make an impact on his football team for football related reasons, I’m sure the Patriots would have worked him out. 

Kaepernick was a good quarterback when he was in San Francisco. But he hasn’t played a game in almost four years. It is extremely possible that he could rediscover himself with Belichick as his head coach and Josh McDaniels as his offensive coordinator. I wouldn’t mind additional competition in camp for Stidham and Hoyer. But I would rather see the Patriots bring in someone that has been in the league and played versus Kaepernick who’ll need to get into football shape and learn a Belichick-Patriots system. I think he could do it. But from a long term perspective, Kaepernick is 32 and he would not be the long-term option for the Patriots. Cam Newton would make more sense for the Patriots than Kaepernick at this point. 

Bringing Kaepernick in would be a media circus, it would be something to talk about in New England. But off the field the distraction isn’t worth it. What if Stidham starts the season 1-1 and he throws two touchdowns with three picks? The fan base would be calling for Kaepernick to become the starter for his name recognition and not because he legitimately deserves to be a starter. If the Patriots bring in Kaepernick I would support it. It would be a circus with the media. But I also think it would be fun to have him on the roster. It would be very similar to when the Patriots had Tim Tebow. But, Kaepernick is clearly more talented of the two. 

I want to see Kaepernick in the league again, he deserves the right to get another chance. However, New England is not where he’ll get that chance and fresh start. Belichick is building a new program in New England post-Tom Brady. He’s trying to eliminate as many distractions as possible. Kaepernick would bring in the unnecessary noise that this team doesn’t need. 

Kaepernick deserves another chance, just not with the Patriots. It doesn’t make sense from a football perspective.

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-Chris Henrique (@ChrisHenrique)

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