Philadelphia Eagles should target Colin Kaepernick


The shouts for Oregon star Marcus Mariota have been heard throughout the streets of Philadelphia for months, and speculation as to whether the Eagles can find a way to bring the Duck to Philly will likely continue up until April’s NFL Draft. Is Mariota really the answer to the team’s problems though? Think about what the Philadelphia Eagles would have to give up in order to even field talks of trading into the top-five in the draft from their 20th pick. Everyone saw what kind of damage the Robert Griffin III trade did to the Washington Redskins, so what good would ultimately come from completing a deal for Mariota?

The situation will likely come down to head coach Chip Kelly. After last week’s move, which essentially promoted Kelly to the role of general manager in addition to his capacity as head football coach, the former-Oregon coach has complete control of player operations. Kelly has promoted Mariota on numerous occasions, and it is certainly clear that he wants to bring the Hawaiian to Philadelphia. Whether that can be done without mortgaging the Eagles’ entire future though is another question.

What would Philly have to give up to land Mariota?

In 2012, the Washington Redskins completed a blockbuster deal with the St. Louis Rams, which sent the Rams’ second overall pick to the Redskins. In return, St. Louis received Washington’s sixth pick, as well as two future first-round picks (2013 and 2014) and their 2012 second-round pick. While neither party truly benefitted from the deal when you judge success, the Rams were the clear winner in that particular situation. Yes, the Redskins made the playoffs in Griffin’s first NFL season, but he hasn’t been the same electrifying player since his catastrophic ACL injury.

Now, let’s talk about how realistic it would be for the Eagles to conjure a deal that would send Mariota to Philadelphia. When the Redskins made their move for Griffin, they only had to move up four positions on the draft board. This situation is completely different for the Eagles, who sit at pick number 20. Chip Kelly’s team would likely need to trade away four first-round picks, in addition to several other picks to even entice the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Tennessee Titans.

That being said though, Kelly loves Marcus Mariota. It’s not even a question that he wants to draft his former-Duck in April. I have praised Marcus Mariota on numerous occasions, and I will continue to do so because I believe that he can be a very talented NFL quarterback, but I just don’t believe that he is worth risking everything for.

There are other quarterbacks out there that will cost the Eagles much less to obtain and have very similar skill-sets to that of Mariota. San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick is the perfect example of a Mariota-like professional. The only difference between these two men is that Kaepernick has been in the NFL for four seasons, including back-to-back NFC Championship game appearances and a Super Bowl appearance (2012).

Colin Kaepernick and Marcus Mariota are very much alike

While Marcus Mariota isn’t an NFL quarterback yet, he and Kaepernick are incredibly similar in their styles of play, which makes it easy to compare these two men. When you strictly look at the numbers, Mariota was the better college quarterback in basically every meaningful statistical category. He’s only played in three seasons at Oregon, but easily surpassed Kaepernick’s passing touchdowns total (82).

Mariota also posted a career completion percentage of 66.8%, versus Kaepernick whose percentage was 58.2%. Now, a lot of Kaepernick’s success or lack thereof, was based on the fact that he played at Nevada, while Mariota has played at powerhouse Oregon for the past three years.

Since coming into the National Football League, Kaepernick has shown at times that he can be a true threat in both the passing and running games when he has weapons around him. In his three seasons as starting quarterback for San Francisco, Kaepernick is completing over 60% of his passes and has thrown no more than 10 interceptions in a season.

Colin Kaepernick won’t blow you out of the water in the passing game, but he can be a very efficient passer. His baseball background has certainly provided him with one of the NFL’s strongest arms as well. The fact that he is a dual-threat quarterback makes him a commodity as well.

More from NFL Spin Zone

Trading for Kaepernick much more realistic

There was a time when the Philadelphia Eagles could have had one of two NFC West quarterbacks, being Kaepernick or Seattle’s Russell Wilson. A 2013 report, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, stated that the Eagles were about to trade for 49ers quarterback Kaepernick before the 2012 NFL Draft, but ultimately pulled out because of their infatuation with Russell Wilson. Kaepernick’s rumored trade value back then was a mere second-round pick, which is likely much less than what San Francisco would seek at this stage of his career.

Kaepernick signed a six year/$114 million contract prior to the 2014 season, with $61 million guaranteed, but his big contract shouldn’t be a concern for the Eagles. Unless they are going to stick it out with Nick Foles for at least one more season, Kaepernick is most likely their best option. The 2015 free agent class of quarterbacks is incredibly weak, headed by Jake Locker and Brian Hoyer.

Unless the Eagles decide to go after Mariota or even Jameis Winston, this year’s draft doesn’t boast many other noteworthy prospects. A guy like UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley is a nice player, but he has a lot of work to do when it comes to decision-making. The fact of the matter is that there are no truly outstanding quarterbacks in this draft, which is why I think that the Eagles should make a push for Kaepernick.

Although Jim Harbaugh’s feud with San Francisco’s front office took center stage for much of the season, it seemed that Kaepernick was falling out of favor with the team to some degree. If there were ever a time for the 49ers to make a move, it would be now.

Next: Philadelphia Eagles: 5 free agents to target in 2015