If you told me a week ago that I would b e writing about Colin Kaepernick here on multiple occasions, I most certainly wouldn’t have believed you. However, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback has been in the sporting news over the course of the past few days.
It was first reported that the AAF was interested in pursuing Kaepernick to play in their league, but a leaked report suggested that he was looking for $20 million to compete. A day later, it was announced that Kaepernick, Eric Reid, and the NFL had reached a settlement in their grievance cases in undisclosed terms.
While no monetary amount has been named, it is believed to be significant—certainly more than $20 million—and the deal also includes the responsibility of both parties to keep the evidence presented in the case confidential.
Evidently, one item that was not included in the arrangement was for Kaepernick to agree not to pursue another opportunity in the NFL. In fact, his lawyer, Mark Geragos, even went so far as to predict that he will play in the NFL in 2019, and suggested that there are three teams he thinks might go after him.
The one he named actually makes a lot of sense, and that would be the Carolina Panthers. If quarterback Cam Newton is having issues recovering from shoulder surgery—and there seems to be belief that he is—than Kaepernick might well be the best option as a similar type of quarterback, as he is also a prolific runner.
It’s worth noting that the Panthers were purchased by David Tepper last offseason. Tepper is a minority owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers (I believe he still is, in fact, though he might have sold his shares by now; the league allowed him to keep them temporarily), and under his watch, Carolina gave Reid an opportunity.
Reid signed a three-year extension this offseason to keep him with the team through 2021, in fact, after teams looked away from him all offseason. Even the Panthers did not bring him in until a few games into the regular season already, but he started right away.
Tepper and the Panthers have already proven that they are okay with Reid, so they could be okay with Kaepernick as well. Tepper’s views seem to align with theirs more than most NFL owners based on his history, so, again, if there is a team likely to look his way this offseason, that is one that would make sense to me on paper.