Starting five years ago, the NFL wrongfully colluded against Colin Kaepernick. Five years of collusion later, the NFL has won.
It’s over for Colin Kaepernick. There’s no way that any team will sign him at this point, not after he has gone half of a decade without playing football of any kind.
Yes, he posted a workout video on Thursday. Sure, Schefty quoted an anonymous source who says Kaepernick is in the best shape of his life. (It’s unclear why anonymity is needed for that specific piece of information; it’s hardly a state secret.) It’s still not happening.
I’m a realist. The ability of the NFL to shun Kaepernick for five years slams the door on any effort to return now. If no team was willing to sign him in 2017, 2018, or 2019, no one will be signing him three years later.
It’s not happening. Why would anyone want a quarterback who hasn’t played in five years, especially in light of the inevitably hostile reaction from 30 percent of the fan base if he’s signed at this point?
Is it wrong that he was frozen out for so many years? Yes. Were some in the media complicit in spreading bullshit narratives that allowed teams to justify ignoring him? Absolutely. Regardless, five years removed from his decision to opt out of the last year of his 49ers contract -- at a time when the 49ers otherwise would have cut him -- it’s over. It’s done. The door has been closed in his face for five years. It’s not opening now.
The Seahawks were the only team to bring Kaepernick in for a visit. They opted not to add Kaepernick to a depth chart led by Russell Wilson, possibly because the team that supposedly embraces competition didn’t want Wilson to have any. Now that Wilson is gone, there’s no impediment to signing Kaepernick.
They won’t. It’s been too long. It’s over. While it would have gotten interesting if former 49ers coach (and Kaepernick advocate) Jim Harbaugh had gotten the Minnesota job, Harbaugh remains at Michigan. Kaepernick remains out of the NFL. That will continue.
At this point, does Kaepernick really want to play? In 2017 and 2018, I think he did. The clumsy and clunky league-organized workout controversy from 2019 strongly suggested that the NFL doesn’t trust Kaepernick, that Kaepernick doesn’t trust the NFL, that neither side is genuinely interested in doing business with the other.
Although Kaepernick previously wanted (and deserved) a contract well in excess of the league minimum, at this point it makes plenty of sense for any team that wants Kaepernick to offer him a bargain-basement contract, if only to see whether he’d take the job. Would he call the bluff? We won’t know until the bluff is made.
It would be stunning if anyone even makes the bluff, regardless of whether Kaepernick would call that bluff. The Kaepernick ship has sailed, and the league’s ability to successfully shun him for five years makes his return to the league at this point incredibly unlikely.
Meanwhile, the quarterback currently at the top of the depth chart in Pittsburgh is Mason Rudolph.