After acquiring four-time NFL MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers this offseason, the New York Jets had serious aspirations of making it back to the Super Bowl for the first time in over 50 years. However, Rodgers' 2023 campaign came to a quick halt due to a season-ending injury less than four minutes into the Jets home opener.
Head coach Robert Saleh was quick to hand the duties to former No. 2 draft pick Zach Wilson, but the transition has left many skeptical about the team's future under the leadership of a young and unproven quarterback.
Some analysts have turned their attention to the future Hall-of-Famer Tom Brady as a potential replacement. The seven-time Super Bowl Champion has already come out of retirement once to continue playing.
But now another name has joined the short list of free agent possibilities: Colin Kaepernick.
After six years of being shunned by the NFL, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback and civil rights activist is again making a case as to why he still deserves a spot on an NFL roster. On Tuesday, rapper J. Cole shared a letter written by Kaepernick that is addressed to Jets general manager Joe Douglas.
"I know there are currently depth issues at the position, and I've heard that the back-up spot is likely to be filled by a veteran Quarterback," Kaepernick wrote. "As much as I would love the opportunity to fill that spot, I'm writing you in hopes that you can imagine a much different approach involving me; I would be honored and extremely grateful for the opportunity to come in and lead the practice squad."
Kaepernick states that he has no intention of taking the starting job from Wilson, but points out that the Jets face some of the league's top running quarterbacks in the coming weeks and believes his athletic abilities can help the team's defense prepare for those matchups.
"It gives your Defense the advantage of getting a truer read on the more mobile/athletic/versatile quarterbacks it will face when in weeks, 4, 5, and 6 (Mahomes, Wilson, and Hurts)," he wrote. "I would consider it a privilege to be able to do this and would take on this responsibility with the dedication and passion as if it were the QB1 position."
Kaepernick hasn't played in an NFL game since the end of the 2016 season when he started kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial inequality. After facing backlash from some fans and league owners, Kaepernick has spent years lobbying teams for another opportunity to strap on the pads.
"My training schedule has remained the same for 6 years; Monday through Friday, 5am-8am training on the field and in the weight room," he wrote. "I've kept this training schedule without failure for the past 6 years, in hopes that an opportunity will present itself. I say this to give you some perspective on where I'm at physically."
While it remains to be seen whether Kaepernick is even on any team's radar, the 35-year-old free agent is persistent, nonetheless, that he possesses qualities that can help an NFL franchise win games.
"Worst case scenario, you see what I have to offer and you're not that impressed," he said. "Best case scenario, you realize you have a real weapon at your disposal in the event you ever need to use it."
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