Tired of the Alliance of American Football articles? Despise any mention of Colin Kaepernick? Abandon hope all ye who enter here, because this article is going to give you a double dose of everything you don’t want…but which you may well choose to read anyway. Or at least angrily comment on. Let’s find out.
The AAF is in its infancy and a very critical point of its development. It has just broadcast its product for the first time to generally anticipated results, but now the test is what comes next, and what can be sustained and built from this point forward.
Initial interest is a nice boost, but sustained engagement comes through quality and emotional investment, as well as name recognition. So it’s no surprise that Bill Polian confirmed that the league talked in the past to quarterback Colin Kaepernick about the possibility of his resuming his football career in their league.
There was only one small problem with that. according to the Associated Press, Kaepernick was looking for $20 million to play. What does literally every single other player in the AAF get? A three-year contract worth a total of $250,000, starting with $80,000 in the first season.
It’s hard to ask for almost 20 times the amount everybody else is getting. Sure, it may well be the case that that investment would have been worth it for the league, because Kaepernick returning to football would be a huge deal in terms of promotion and viewership, including those who would hate-watch him and even root for him to be injured.
I’m sure I don’t have to detail Kaepernick’s backstory in much depth. A former second-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers, he eventually usurped Alex Smith’s starting role and helped lead the team to a Super Bowl appearance in 2012, though they ultimately lost to the Baltimore Ravens.
Kaepernick has been out of the NFL for two seasons now, last playing in 2016. He went 1-10 as a starter that season, completing 196 of 331 passes for 2241 yards with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. He had 468 rushing yards on 69 carries with two touchdowns.
Late in his six-year career, Kaepernick began participating in on-field protests, which included taking a knee during the pre-game rendition of the national anthem. While he was no the only player to do this, he was the most visible, and the most vocal, and he suffered the greatest consequences.
He has a grievance still unsettled against the NFL in which he attempts to argue that the league’s owners have colluded against him to prevent him from continuing his career there. His former teammate, Eric Reid, who knelt alongside him, also had a hard time finding a job in 2018, but eventually did with the Carolina Panthers.
The Panthers were purchased by Pittsburgh Steelers minority owner David Tepper in 2018. Reid signed a three-year extension with them recently as Carolina commits to supporting the former Pro Bowler. As for Kaepernick, he likely will never play football again if he expects $20 million.