Colin Kaepernick

Extra Points: Panthers, Rivera, Martin, Cowboys, Kaepernick

A lot of high profile coaches have been rumored to be on the hot seat this year, and while Ron Rivera’s name has certainly been mentioned, his job status has mostly flown under-the-radar. There was a report last week that new Panthers owner David Tepper could consider making “major changes” after the season, but other than that it’s been pretty quiet. Rivera let a couple of his assistant coaches go last week in an effort to help stabilize the crumbling defense, but his own job could very well be in danger.

The Panthers started the season 6-2 and were the toast of the league for a while, but have since lost five straight games. While Tepper is patient and has a good relationship with Rivera, if the losing streak continues Rivera very well may be fired after eight years with the team, according to Joseph Person of The Athletic. The team lost to the Browns today, and Cam Newton‘s play has declined sharply after a hot start. Reports this week have indicated he’s been dealing with lingering shoulder pain, which has undoubtedly contributed to the team’s struggles.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Cowboys guard Zack Martin suffered a scary looking knee injury in their overtime win over the Eagles, but it looks like he escaped major injury. Owner Jerry Jones said after the game that the team is “concerned” about the injury but that there doesn’t “appear to be any structural damage.” While it’s good news that his ligaments are alright, it sounds like he could still miss some games. Being without Martin for any period of time would be a major blow for Dallas, as Martin is one of the league’s best guards.
  • Colin Kaepernick would be very interested in joining the Redskins, sources told Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports. Kaepernick has been working out and the sources told Robinson that he’s in the “best shape of his life.” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said the team “discussed” Kaepernick, but wanted someone with more experience in their system. After Mark Sanchez melted down today and the team had to insert Josh Johnson it’s possible they reconsider, but still very unlikely.
  • In case you missed it, the Ravens could move on from John Harbaugh even if Baltimore makes the playoffs.

 

Redskins Discussed Colin Kaepernick; Latest On Team’s QB Outlook

The Redskins saw their once-promising 2018 season take a nosedive when starting QB Alex Smith broke his tibia and fibia in a loss to the Texans last month. Washington lost its next two games and also saw its backup signal-caller, Colt McCoy, suffer a season-ending injury of his own. So while the Redskins are technically still alive in the NFC playoff race, they now have to find a way to qualify for the postseason with Mark Sanchez under center.

The team recently signed Josh Johnson to serve as Sanchez’s backup, but Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports that the Redskins did discuss Colin Kaepernick before signing Johnson. Washington head coach Jay Gruden said Kaepernick was “talked about and discussed,” but the team ultimately did not reach out to him (in fact, Schefter says that no club has contacted Kaepernick to gauge his interest or arrange a workout this year).

Gruden, of course, said that the decision to not pursue Kaepernick was a purely football one. He said the Redskins would have needed to change their offense too much to accommodate Kaepernick’s skill set, and that it may have been a different story if the team needed a new QB in Week 1 rather than Week 14. He did suggest that Kaepernick, who has not played a regular season snap in nearly two years, would have been a backup to Sanchez anyway and would not have been a candidate for the starting job. Gruden said, “[w]hen you’re talking about a backup quarterback this late in the game you want someone with a similar skill set to the quarterback you have. Not that Colin can’t do some of the things we’ve talked about, but we want someone with a little more familiarity.”

Speaking of Smith, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports that the 34-year-old remains in the hospital (video link). Smith suffered an infection stemming from the above-referenced injury and had to undergo another procedure as a result. Rapoport suggests that Smith is still battling the infection, and no one has been able to definitively say that Smith will be able to play football again. At the very least, he seems highly unlikely to be ready for the start of the 2019 season, so the Redskins will need to acquire a QB either via free agency or the draft.

Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com explores Smith’s contract situation and the Redskins’ options with respect to that contract in excellent detail. Ultimately, he suggests that Washington may have to defer as much as much as $27.2MM to future years just to have enough money to conduct business in the 2019 and 2020 seasons, and the entire article is well-worth a read, especially for Redskins fans.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins To Work Out Free Agent QBs

After losing their top two quarterbacks to injury, the Redskins are in the market for another signal caller. The Redskins will once again audition E.J. Manuel, T.J. Yates, Josh Johnson, and others as they look to support de facto starter Mark Sanchez, coach Jay Gruden announced. 

Naturally, reporters pressed Gruden on whether Colin Kaepernick is or was a consideration for the team. Gruden acknowledged that Kaepernick was discussed, but it doesn’t sound as though he was a real candidate for the Redskins.

[There’s] not a lot of time to get a brand new QB and a system installed and taught in a couple days. He’s been talked about and discussed, but we’ll probably go in a different direction,” Gruden said (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s John Keim).

Backup Colt McCoy stepped in when Alex Smith was lost to a scary leg injury, but McCoy was knocked out of action this week when he suffered a broken fibula of his own. McCoy is holding out hope that he can return in a matter of weeks, but that will be a moot point unless Sanchez can lead the Redskins to a winning streak that will put them in the playoff mix.

The 6-6 Redskins have a 26% chance of reaching the playoffs and a 7% chance of bypassing the Cowboys and Eagles for the divisional crown. It’ll be an uphill battle, however, with Sanchez under center behind a depleted offensive line.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

No Progress In Colin Kaepernick Settlement Talks; 2019 Hearing Likely

The NFL and NFLPA have engaged in preliminary settlement discussions in Colin Kaepernick‘s collusion grievance. They’ve gone nowhere, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports, adding a hearing is likely to occur early in 2019.

Now, the league and the union have progressed on discussions based around how the hearing will unfold. It’s not expected to begin any later than February.

A hearing is tentatively expected to occur in at a Philadelphia hotel, per La Canfora, with plenty of NFL personnel set to be required to testify. The hearing, which stands to be overseen by arbitrator Stephen Burbank, is expected to last at least two weeks.

Kaepernick’s team plans to depose NFL owners, GMs and coaches — several of whom have already been questioned during this lengthy process. Roger Goodell and other prominent league executives will be deposed as well. JLC adds the recorded depositions of Paul Allen and Bob McNair, owners who died this year, could be admitted.

The 31-year-old quarterback has not played since Week 17 of the 2016 season. Kaepernick remains interested in resuming his career, one put on hold because of his racial inequality protests during national anthems, and La Canfora reports his agents have reached out to teams weekly about booking a workout. They’ve done this since the start of the 2017 season. None have granted such an opportunity. Kaepernick continues to work out daily in hopes of another chance, though as the months pass and lesser-acclaimed quarterbacks continue to be signed, odds diminish of a return to the NFL.

The Seahawks hosted Kaepernick on a 2017 visit but cancelled a 2018 summit with the passer. Kaepernick has not received another tryout opportunity.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Kaepernick Still Interested In Playing

With Alex Smith suffering a broken tibia and fibia on Sunday, the Redskins have begun searching for another quarterback, with several veterans expected to work out for the team on Monday. One name that has not been linked to a workout is Colin Kaepernick. If Washington called, however, people close to the quarterback said he is still interested in returning to the NFL, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio writes

This contradicts another story from USA Today’s Mike Jones, who tweeted that some people close to the former San Francisco signal-caller didn’t know if he wants to play anymore. Florio, however, says he still works out five hours per day, six days a week in the hopes of landing another gig. Regardless which source is right, any time a team has a void under center, Kaepernick’s name will appear.

After all, filling in for an injured Smith was how he rose to prominence with the 49ers in 2012. In seven starts, the dual-threat passer led San Francisco to a 5-2 mark and then proceeded to power the team to the Super Bowl, where it fell to the Ravens, 34-31.

Though he wants to play, it remains to be seen if he will be given the chance.

Kaepernick, of course, has not played in the NFL since 2016, as clubs have shunned him following his national anthem demonstrations. While he was scheduled to work out for the Seahawks earlier this year, the audition was eventually canceled after Kaepernick declined to stop kneeling during the anthem.

Kaepernick alleges that owners from around the league colluded to keep him unsigned. The alleged collusion stems from his protest of social inequalities in the United States, which included kneeling for the national anthem.

At 6-4, the Redskins sit atop the NFC East heading into a pivotal Thanksgiving Day tilt with the second-place Cowboys. A loss will drop them into a tie for first place with Dallas.

 

La Canfora’s Latest: Bryant, Kaepernick, Roughing

Dez Bryant could be nearing a return to the football field. The biggest-name free agent left has been purposefully coy about when he will sign with a team, but sources close to Bryant are indicating he’ll sign sometime in October according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. One source told La Canfora “will really be in position to talk seriously with any interested clubs in two weeks”

If so, Bryant would probably end up playing a little over half a season for his new team. It’s likely that Bryant will look for a contender to sign with. La Canfora reports that the deal Bryant turned down from the Ravens earlier this year included over $13MM guaranteed, and that the offer he turned down from the Browns was worth around $5MM for one year. Interestingly, La Canfora notes that Bryant is getting help improving his mental health, including depression and panic attacks.

Here’s more from La Canfora:

  • Eric Reid may have signed with the Panthers recently, but that isn’t changing anything for Colin Kaepernick‘s lawsuit against the league La Canfora reports. Reid is sharing a lawyer with Kaepernick as he also sued the league for collusion. La Canfora writes that Kaepernick’s agent has continued to reach out to teams about potential interest but there “have been no overtures toward Kaepernick.” Although Reid is off the board, it still doesn’t sound like Kaepernick will be anytime soon.
  • In response to backlash to the sudden increase in roughing the passer penalties, the league’s competition committee is instructing officials only to look for certain specific things from now on, according to La Canfora. While the NFL has maintained not much will change, league sources told La Canfora that the “body weight” rule will now only be enforced if it is absolutely indisputable that the defensive player sought to put his full weight on top of the quarterback. Previously, if it was even questionable, officials were still supposed to call it a penalty.

49ers Haven’t Discussed Colin Kaepernick

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan says the team has not discussed bringing back Colin Kaepernick (Twitter link via Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com). Shanahan added that the team discussed signing Kaepernick last year, but determined that he was not the right fit for their offense. 

After Jimmy Garoppolo‘s season-ending ACL tear, the 49ers are looking into backup quarterback options. Kaepernick represents a viable starter in a sea of clipboard holders, but he is not in consideration for San Francisco. Kaepernick may not be an ideal fit for the offense, but the national controversy surrounding him may also be playing a role here.

Kaepernick, 31 in November, has spent his entire NFL career to date with the 49ers. From 2011-2016, he went 28-30 in his starts, though he did take the team to the Super Bowl following the 2012 season and the NFC championship game following the 2013 campaign. Kaepernick’s last start came in January of 2017 as the 49ers closed out a trying season with a loss to the Seahawks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Anthem, Kaepernick, Bell

There’s been a lot of talk about the league’s new anthem policy. There was massive controversy earlier this year when it was announced that teams could discipline players, including possibly with suspension, for not standing for the anthem.

It was then reported earlier this week that “moderate” NFL owners were looking for a compromise where discipline would be waived for kneeling players if the players union officially endorsed standing for the anthem. That will apparently not be happening anytime this year, as Adam Schefter of ESPN reports there will be no agreement between the two sides on a new anthem policy this season. Schefter notes that “the new policy is going to be no policy” adding that “too many people have stances too strong to figure out a compromise.”

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Speaking of the anthem, Albert Breer of SI.com writes that there’s been a “wink-wink agreement to drag the talks out a little” between the players and owners in order to “give the “do nothing” solution a test drive.” It’s in line with Schefter’s reporting, and makes sense considering the league just wants the issue to go away at this point.
  • Relatedly, league sources tell Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports that the trial for Colin Kaepernicks’s collusion lawsuit against the league is going to take place at some point before the regular season is over. La Canfora also notes that Kaepernick hasn’t given up on a return to the NFL, and is continuing to work out to stay in playing shape.
  • In the same article, Breer writes that he doesn’t think Le’Veon Bell’s continued absence is smart, noting “most NFL people I talk to aren’t so sure there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow waiting for him.” Breer lists a number of factors, including his age, suspension and injury history, and recent antics as reasons why he doesn’t think Bell will land the payday he’s expecting this offseason.

Kaepernick Case To Move Forward

On Tuesday, Colin Kaepernick secured a major victory over the NFL. The quarterback won the summary judgement phase of his collusion case, which means that Kaepernick’s case will move towards a hearing (Twitter link via Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports). 

The decision from arbitrator Stephen Burbank was the “most pivotal moment” in Kaepernick’s case, according to Robinson. The law required all facts to be viewed “in the most favorable light” towards Kaepernick, since he is the one bringing the case, so the NFL’s legal team was facing an uphill battle.

Kaepernick, of course, has not played in the NFL since 2016, as clubs have shunned the 30-year-old following his national anthem demonstrations. While he was scheduled to work out for the Seahawks earlier this year, the audition was eventually canceled after Kaepernick declined to stop kneeling during the anthem.

Kaepernick alleges that owners from around the league colluded to keep him unsigned. The alleged collusion stems from his protest of social inequalities in the United States, which included kneeling for the national anthem.

Between the 2012 and ’13 seasons, Kaepernick threw for 21 touchdowns and rushed for nine touchdowns while throwing just 11 interceptions. The team also went 17-6 in the regular season with him as a starter. From 2014-16, Kaepernick was unable to lead the team to a record better than 8-8, and he threw ten interceptions in 2014 alone. Of course, the Niners’ woes were not entirely Kaepernick’s fault, and he played well on a personal level in 2016 despite the team going 1-10 in his starts.

Kaepernick will turn 31 in November, and he seems further from an NFL opportunity than ever before. He may never win another game on the field, but he could be on his way to a historic victory against the league.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Bengals, Iloka, Kaepernick

The Bengals surprised many with their release of safety George Iloka, but it has been in discussion ever since the drafting of Jessie Bates III in the second round, according to Kat Terrell of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Despite Iloka’s past performance, the Bengals are ready to move ahead with the rookie and give him the playing time he needs to develop. The Bengals were also wary of using a roster spot on a veteran who doesn’t fit on special teams.

Iloka wasn’t a fit for the 2018 Bengals, but there are plenty of other teams who are interested in his services. He’s already on the radar of the Raiders and Cowboys, and it stands to reason that other teams will get on the horn with him in the coming days.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • Broncos GM John Elway violated the gag order issued in Colin Kaepernick‘s collusion case when he spoke about the quarterback last week, his agent alleges. “Mr. Elway, clearly he violated the protective order that the NFL has been wielding like a club at me,” attorney Mark Geragos said on his podcast (via Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports). “And he’s apparently suffering from some real brain trauma.”
  • It was widely reported that Jon Gruden‘s deal with the Raiders will pay him a guaranteed $100MM over ten years, but Gruden says that’s not true (via Mike Florio of PFT). The truth may be somewhere in between. It’s believed that Gruden’s $100MM is not fully guaranteed, Florio hears. The structure of the contract is believed to be more along the lines of $25MM over the first five years, and $75MM over the final five years. If that’s the setup of the deal, then it’s possible that the final five years are not fully guaranteed or even largely guaranteed.
  • Former Texans offensive tackle Derek Newton filed a grievance seeking payment of a $500K roster bonus, according Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Newton was officially released in April 12 with a failed physical designation, but his roster bonus was due April 1. The Texans held Newton on the roster past the bonus date, but he didn’t pass the physical. Therefore, Newton is seeking $200K from the team. For now, that number is held against the Texans’ cap.