With a collusion grievance looming, NFL wants you to believe all is good with Kaepernick


With a collusion grievance looming, NFL wants you to believe all is good with Kaepernick

All of a sudden Colin Kaepernick is Football’s Most Desirable Prom Date again, and if I had to wager a guess it would be to forestall that potentially sloppy collusion grievance he and lawyer Mark Geragos have aimed at the NFL.

According to ESPN’s Jim Trotter, Kaepernick was texted by Troy Vincent, one of Roger Goodell’s chief lieutenants, with an eye toward a meeting with the shrapnel-riddled commissioner. The text was dated Hallowe’en, so make of that what you will, but according to NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart, the league has not yet heard from Kaepernick, Geragos or anyone else empowered to speak on his behalf.

Lockhart also said in a conference call that Kaepernick would be invited to a larger meeting about social issues and the league’s responses to them between owners, league officials and players.

In other words, The Invisible Man is suddenly wearing a DayGlo suit that can be seen from space, and the league that has almost gymnastically shunned him has suddenly decided that he is a member in good standing -- except of course for the players contract part.

It is unclear what a meeting with Goodell would gain him, since Goodell is not actually empowered to give him a place on a team and in any event already has his own political problems with some of the Billionaire Boys Club. The larger meeting would, in fact, be almost like a job fair for Kaepernick if both he and the owners in the room were inclined to treat it as such.

But those are a steeplechase race full of hurdles to clear, which brings us back to the principal motive for the meetings -- feeling out the collusion issue.

The NFL may not have been as dim as Major League Baseball’s owners were in the 1990s when they lost three separate collusion cases by leaving their paperwork about for all to see, but billionaires are not always careful about the forensics when they want something as badly as they seem to want Kaepernick to be an ex-player. This reach-out to Kaepernick by Goodell, if it is true, puts Goodell in an increasingly risky position viz. Jerry Jones, Danny Snyder, Bob McNair and the other ownership hardliners.

In other words, let us do the prudent thing and cool our jets on all this. There are other, invisible, shoes yet to drop, or not, and the best way to be wrong on a Colin Kaepernick story is to imagine that there is thawing in his relationship with the league that spurned him.

Kilgore: All of 49ers on same page 'for the first time in a long time'


Kilgore: All of 49ers on same page 'for the first time in a long time'

The 49ers’ coaching staff made its feelings known to center Daniel Kilgore throughout the season.

But, in the past, that would not have necessarily meant everyone in the organization had the same thoughts about Kilgore, who was scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent.

“The whole season, coaches and I had a good relationship,” Kilgore said Wednesday on conference call with Bay Area reporters. “Just talking and having one-on-ones with various coaches, I had a positive outlook for the future.

“But that’s just one thing. The coaches have an opinion of you, but then there’s also the front office. That’s two totally different things. And I think for the first time in a long time, our coaches and the front office are on the same page.”

Kilgore was working out back home in Tennessee on Wednesday when he signed a three-year contract to avoid hitting the free-agent market. Kilgore, 30, a seven-year NFL veteran, described the contract as a team-friendly deal.

The 49ers presented Kilgore with a contract offer during the season but negotiations did not get serious until just recently. While the 49ers expressed interest in retaining Kilgore, he said he did not know what the future held for him when he packed his belongings from the locker room on the day after the season ended.

“It kind of makes you nervous because in this profession, people like the younger guys,” Kilgore said. “You just never know what will happen at any time, any given day, in the NFL. So toward the end, that last day of clearing out the locker, I didn’t know if I’d be back. I didn’t know if the Niners would want me back.”

Kilgore was named the winner of the organization’s top honor for an offensive lineman. Kilgore won the Bobb McKittrick Award for best exemplifying the dedication, excellence and commitment of the long-time 49ers offensive line coach. Kilgore started all 29 games in which he appeared the past two seasons, including a career-high 16 games last season.

"I've been here seven years and I consider the Bay Area my second home,” Kilgore said. “To be able to extend my career wearing the 49ers jersey was special to me. This team is heading in the right direction, I wanted to be a part of it."

Why the 49ers did not hesitate to pay Garoppolo big money

Matt Maiocco

Why the 49ers did not hesitate to pay Garoppolo big money

When Jimmy Garoppolo signed a contract that could pay him up to $137.5 million over the next five years, he was asked what convinced him during his nine weeks with the organization that he wanted to be with the 49ers for the long term.

“I think it was a number of things,” Garoppolo said last week. “The team, the acceptance that they had of me when I first got here from the get-go, the coaching staff, Kyle and Rich. It was a very welcoming environment, and I really liked that. We had some success down the stretch, and you could see that pieces were falling into place. We've got a long way to go, but I think we're moving in the right direction.”

Kyle, of course, is head coach Kyle Shanahan. Rich Scagarello is the 49ers’ quarterbacks coach, and the person from whom Garoppolo spent the most time after arriving in Santa Clara on Oct. 31 after a trade with the New England Patriots.

Garoppolo earned $3.5 million in his first four NFL seasons. His new contract makes him the NFL’s highest-paid player, making an average of $27.5 million per season, with $48.7 million fully guaranteed.

Scangarello, appearing this week on The 49ers Insider Podcast, talked about what he learned about Garoppolo from working so closely with him to teach him Shanahan's offense. Scangarello said there is no question in his mind the money will not change Garoppolo’s approach to his work.

“That’s why it was easy for the organization and everyone to invest in somebody like Jimmy Garoppolo,” Scangarello said. “I just think that’s not the kind of person he is. If you met his family, you know where he comes from, what he’s about. His brothers, his parents, are just good, solid people people. He’s made of the right stuff and I just don’t see that affecting him in that way.

“It’s just not who he is. That’s the fun part of working with somebody like that every day. When they’re really talented and they appreciate everything and they work at it, you have a chance to be a successful organization and they can be a great player. And I don’t think those things will ever affect him.”