Nick Wright from FS1’s new morning show “First Things First” provided the evidence Wednesday that many have always believed was true, but maybe couldn’t quite prove.
On the opening weekend of the NFL playoffs, Wright took a moment to look back at the person who had the biggest effect on the league this past season without even being on a roster: Colin Kaepernick.
Take a look at these numbers:
The last six games played in a 49ers uniform by new San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo:
67.4 completion percentage
1,565 total yards
Seven touchdowns and five interceptions
96.2 passer rating
The last six games played in a 49ers uniform by former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
65.1 completion percentage
1,305 total yards
Nine touchdowns and two interceptions
96.2 passer rating
For all those people who said Kaepernick’s abilities and play on the field were the reason why he couldn’t get a job in the NFL even as a backup, and not the fact that he was peacefully protesting racism, inequality and police brutality, I just want to ask one simple question.
What’s your excuse now?
“Listen, Colin Kaepernick is not as good as Jimmy Garoppolo,” Wright said. “But for that same franchise, Cris Carter, you just said that what Jimmy Garoppolo did is going to get him five years and $125 million. We are now done with the season. Colin Kaepernick finished his season like that (referring to his stats being almost identical to Garoppolo’s) and couldn’t get a job.
“We watched bad quarterback after bad quarterback cost their team games. A guy who had the exact same passer rating, for the exact same team, over the exact same number of games as Jimmy Garoppolo, cannot get a job in this league. That will be part of the memory of the 2017 season.”
Names like Brad Kaaya, Keith Wenning, Mitch Leidner, Thad Lewis, David Olson, Dane Evans, Zac Dysert, Austin Davis, Eli Jenkins, Nick Mullins, David Fales, Wes Lunt and a host of other mediocre at best quarterbacks were able to find some kind of work in the NFL since Kaepernick last put on an official game jersey.
When the 49ers traded a 2018 second-round pick for Garoppolo back in October it was out of pure desperation, given their dismal quarterback play in the post-Kaepernick era.
The move was a smart one, as San Francisco got a much-needed upgrade at the most important position in sports. However, it was the solution to a problem that they caused on their own.
During the Jim Harbaugh/Colin Kaepernick era, the 49ers played in two NFC Championship Games, one Super Bowl and amassed a 31-16 record. And in his last game in a 49ers uniform against the Seattle Seahawks, one of the best defenses in the NFL, you could make the argument that Kaepernick performed better in that one game than Brian Hoyer, the 49ers opening day starter, did in the first few games of this season, as he was 17-for-22 and threw for 215 yards and a touchdown.
Earlier this week, 49ers general manager John Lynch went on record by stating how the franchise feels Garoppolo is their long-time answer at quarterback. Garoppolo will be a free agent this offseason, and it seems as if San Francisco is determined to do whatever it takes to keep him.
“That process is going to take place here,” he said. “You know, we’re eager to get that done, to have the opportunity. But I think one thing we really believe is that those things should take place between us and his representatives and not occur and transpire in the public. And that’s the way we’re going to treat that. You have our assurance — and the fans do — that we’d like nothing more to make him a Niner for a long, long time.”
The funny thing is, Kaepernick was once in that very same position. But Lynch had no interest in re-signing the quarterback who led the franchise to its best seasons since the Joe Montana and Steve Young eras.
“We gave him the option, ‘You can opt out, we can release you, whatever.’ And he chose to opt out, but that was just a formality,” Lynch once said.
When you put Garoppolo and Kaepernick’s resumes and stats side-by-side, it’s clear that one is more impressive than the other.
And Garoppolo isn’t the one that has the better body of work.
The 49ers seems like they have found “their guy,” but according to the numbers, which never lie, they already had him and decided to let him go.
This stopped being about football the very second Kaepernick’s knee touched the ground.