Article by: Kevin Eagleson
Almost 2 years after Colin Kaepernick filed a collusion case against the NFL, the quarterback’s lawsuit appears to have been resolved. With this chapter behind him, it is time for the quarterback to move on. The 31-year-old may still be a viable quarterback, worthy of a roster spot on numerous teams, but is there an organization willing to bring in one of the most controversial players of all time?
Not too long ago, Colin Kaepernick was one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the league. His mobility and arm strength lead him to be a top dual threat quarterback, as he was able to lead the San Francisco 49ers to a 2012 Super Bowl appearance (and nearly pulled off one of the greatest Super Bowl comebacks ever).
However, the quarterback’s most recent seasons were much less successful. The 49er’s dismal record the next few seasons is not entirely the result of the quarterback’s performance, as San Francisco was undergoing a complete rebuild and he was not surrounded by much talent. The last time Kaepernick was on the field, he was playing at a backup quarterback level, occasionally showing promise he could start. However, the quarterback has not played since the 2016 season, which should concern potential teams interested in him.
Looking at today’s NFL rosters, there are a handful of teams that could use an experienced quarterback on their roster, even if it's just as a backup. The veteran could be a potential fit for teams in need of a short-term starter such as the Redskins, Panthers, or Jaguars. While he could be a valuable backup for teams such as the Giants, Dolphins, Seahawks, Texans, and others.
Realistically, Colin Kaepernick would most likely be a backup if he returned to the NFL. Therefore, any interested organizations would have to consider if it is worth bringing in Kaepernick, who may not even start a game. He will undoubtedly become a distraction, at least initially, as we saw when fellow protestor Eric Reid was signed. However, Reid was recently extended by the Panthers and it appears the acquisition worked out for both the organization and the player. After the Panther’s willingness to sign Reid, Carolina seems like the most likely fit for Kaepernick, as they need a quarterback to fill in while their franchise star, Cam Newton recovers from surgery. Kaepernick’s athletic build and play style are similar to the likes of Newton’s, and he should certainly be a better option than their only other quarterback, Kyle Allen.
The last major factor to consider is money. Kaepernick obviously believes he is valuable, as he reportedly wanted $20 million to join the AAF. The NFL league minimum for Kaepernick would be just under $1 million, and it is unlikely a team would be willing to pay more than $2-3 million for the 31-year-old. Colin Kaepernick would have to accept making only a couple million dollars a year upon his return.
At this point, Colin Kaepernick’s return to the NFL is very unlikely. Right now, the Panthers seem to be the optimal fit for the quarterback, but with many other play callers hitting free agency such as Teddy Bridgewater, Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Josh McCown, teams may look elsewhere.
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