The NFL should seek to end the Colin Kaepernick collusion grievance via settlement, if only for its own good, opines Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. The league has indeed broached the topic of a financial settlement with Kaepernick and his team, but those talks have reportedly gone nowhere, as Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com indicated earlier this week. A 2019 hearing now appears likely, but as Florio writes, the NFL has a lot to lose by allowing a hearing to take place. League personnel would likely be deposed, internal communications could be made public, and — in a worst-case scenario — Kaepernick could prove collusion did indeed take place. Of course, the former 49ers quarterback would have to be amenable to a settlement, and given that a) he’s earned more than $43MM during his career and b) his grievance and interests don’t appear to be financially motivated, it seems unlikely he’d agree to be paid for his silence.
Here’s more from the NFL’s two West divisions:
- The Broncos are “doing a lot of homework” on collegiate tight end prospects in advance of the 2019 draft, according to Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.net (Twitter link). Denver has spent consecutive fifth-round picks on tight ends, but both of the club’s selections have fallen victim to injury. 2017 draft choice Jake Butt missed his entire rookie year while recovering from an ACL tear; he played in three games this season before suffering yet another torn ACL (the third of his football career). Meanwhile, 2018 selection Troy Fumagalli has been on IR since August after going down with a thigh injury. Per Gavrino Borquez of USA Today’s Draftwire, the top draft-eligible tight ends include Noah Fant (Iowa), Kaden Smith (Stanford), and T.J. Hockenson (Iowa).
- In his latest mailbag for The Athletic, Matt Barrows writes — perhaps unsurprisingly — 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is in no danger of losing his job despite a disappointing 2018 campaign. Shanahan and general manager John Lynch signed dual six-year contracts prior to the 2017 season, so he presumably has plenty of leeway to execute his vision in San Francisco. Additionally, the 49ers lost both quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and running back Jerick McKinnon before September ended, making it difficult to evaluate the club’s offensive talent.
- More from Burrows, who adds three-game starting quarterback Nick Mullens‘ “leash was shortened” following his lackluster performance against the Buccaneers in Week 12. After tossing three touchdowns in his first NFL start, Mullens — whom the 49ers signed as an undrafted free agent in 2017 — has regressed over the past two weeks, throwing just two scores against four picks while posting a 68.5 passer rating during that time. C.J. Beathard, who’s managed a 81.8 quarterback rating in six appearances this season, is now healthy and could get another shot under center if Mullens struggles against the Seahawks on Sunday.
- Former Raiders/49ers edge rusher Aldon Smith turned himself into San Francisco police on Tuesday after being accused of domestic violence, reports Evan Sernoffsky of the San Francisco Chronicle. Smith, of course, has been no stranger to off-field incidents since being selected in the first round of the 2011 draft. The Raiders quickly released Smith following another domestic violence episode earlier this year, and it’s obvious Smith will never play in the NFL again.