Colin Kaepernick has stated his desire to be among the game’s highest-paid quarterbacks. Well, Kaepernick signed a contract this week reportedly worth $126 million, including $61 million guaranteed.
It’s the most guaranteed money for an NFL player ever.
“I have no problem with the money he’s being paid,” CBS NFL analyst Phil Simms said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “Sometimes you got to guess a little on the future, and if I could wager like the stock market on Colin Kaepernick, I’ll throw my money down on his side – because that’s what I think of him, the situation he’s in, but more importantly, that’s what I think of his talent.”
In less than two seasons as a starter, Kaepernick has played in two consecutive NFC Championship Games and a Super Bowl. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that he failed to throw for even 200 yards in 12 of 19 games last year.
“Those numbers, to me, mean nothing,” Simms said. “Most quarterbacks wouldn’t have (gotten) what he got out of those games because of his movement and the fact that he can rifle it into tight spots and get it done. It’s not a quarterback-friendly system he runs out there. They don’t get cheap throws and cheap completions. They don’t throw seven rocket screens and four screens to the running back and six (dump-offs). When they ask him to throw it, it’s hammer time. They’re looking to get it down the field because they believe in defense and running the football.”
Simms has also been impressed with Kaepernick’s development as a quarterback. In high school and college – and even in his early NFL starts – Kaepernick “played the position as truly just an athlete.”
Now, however, he’s running less, throwing more and trusting his reads.
“I thought late last year, he started becoming a quarterback,” Simms said. “In other words, he dropped back, he looked at a receiver, he wasn’t covered, he found the next guy and threw the shallow cross or whatever the outlet pass is for him. He just didn’t rely on his arm strength and running the football. There’s no doubt he’s finally learning to be a quarterback – because he has to be – and I think he’s a smart kid and I think he’s going to make that adjustment. It’s going to keep going upwards as far as numbers and playing the position.”
And then there’s another young quarterback, Johnny Manziel (perhaps you’ve heard of him). Just as Kaepernick is known for his post-game headphones, Manziel is known for his celebrity lifestyle – replete with concerts, bar-hopping and good-looking women.
Forget about Manziel’s play on the field. How does this look from a perception standpoint?
“Well, it doesn’t look good,” Simms said. “I was actually talking to people in Cleveland yesterday. We never got into the downside stuff of Johnny Manziel. I wish we would have.”
“But perception is a big deal. You know it, and I know it. Bill Parcells said something to me once. He says, ‘Simms, (if) you come down here during the offseason (and) you’re tired (and) you don’t want to work, grab a bunch of film, walk around, shake hands with everybody, go in (the film room), lock the door, and I don’t care if you sleep for four hours. Come out, have all that film with you, walk around, shake everybody’s hands and put (the film) down, and you know what they’re going to say? Damn, that Simms is working hard. You’ve got to let them know that you’re the hardest worker, that you’re all in – because that way, there’s a better chance they’ll be all in and fall in line and we’ll be a better team.”
Simms never did that, but it underscores how important the quarterback position is from a leadership standpoint.
“The team wants to perceive you as being the man,” Simms said. “It doesn’t look great (if you’re always partying). Okay, that’s who he is. Well, then don’t be who you are. Do something else. But when he’s in that building, I have no doubt about the fact that he’s going to work hard – because professional coaches are just going to be all over (him).”
“But we all know the NFL for quarterbacks, it’s brutal. If you don’t do everything the right way, you’re just not going to be able to survive.”