Colin Kaepernick

Diddy Is Serious About Buying Panthers

When word broke of the Panthers going up for sale, Sean “Diddy” Combs rushed to put his name in the conversation. Those close to the rapper turned business mogul say that this is not a publicity stunt. He’s also intent on looping quarterback Colin Kaepernick into the ownership group. Diddy (vertical)

The interest is real and it’s moving forward,” a source said of Combs and Kaepernick working together (via Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports). “They want to make this a reality. It’s serious.”

Some very real questions remain about whether Combs has enough financial capital to make a play for the Panthers. As Robinson notes, the most recent Forbes evaluation put the value of the franchise at $2.3 billion. Typically, teams in the major three North American sports will sell for even more than their evaluations, so a 100% sale of the Panthers could be in the range of $2.5 billion. Buying Jerry Richardson‘s 48% stake in the team could cost about $1.2 billion, which is more than Diddy’s projected net worth of $820MM.

Kaepernick, of course, does not have the kind of cash needed to own a large chunk of an NFL team, but he could theoretically be a minority owner in the group and gain additional equity by reeling in bigger fish. A source close to the QB tells Robinson that he has already begun reaching out to “business leaders, venture capitalists, and sports icons” who could bring the big bucks. Overall, Combs and Kaepernick envision a group that is about 70% black to more closely reflect the makeup of the league’s players.

If Diddy is intent on positioning himself as the largest shareholder of the group, he could face some pushback from NFL owners. Typically, the league prefers owners who can make the purchase with mostly cash. They also prefer an ownership group is not overly fractured.

For what it’s worth, Diddy may have the support of Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

I’m a big fan of Diddy,” Kraft told TMZ this week. “You ask him. I’m a big fan of his. … He’s a good businessman. He’s a very good businessman and I have a lot of respect for Diddy.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Not Interested In Colin Kaepernick

Despite losing starting quarterback Carson Wentz to a torn ACL, the Eagles are not interested in signing free agent Colin Kaepernick, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link).Colin Kaepernick

Scheme fit, salary, and other on-field factors don’t seem to play much of role in Philadelphia’s stance, per Rapoport, who indicates that it’s Kaepernick’s collusion lawsuit against the NFL that is dissuading the Eagles (and likely other clubs) from inking Kaepernick. The lawsuit, which alleges that the league’s owners have conspired to keep Kaepernick out of the NFL, was reportedly filed with the hope that it would lead to the termination of the current collective bargaining agreement. If the Eagles were to sign Kaepernick, he would withdraw the suit, his agent confirms to Rapoport.

Kaepernick, of course, originated kneeling during the national anthem as a form of silent protest during the 2016 season, and has since been unable to land an NFL contract. While Kaepernick certainly doesn’t fit every offense in the league, it’s difficult to argue that his social activism hasn’t played at least some role in his failure to earn a roster spot.

With Wentz soon heading to injured reserve, the Eagle will have only two quarterbacks on their roster: Nick Foles, who will become the club’s new starter, and Nate Sudfeld, who has never attempted a pass in the NFL. Philadelphia does not currently have a quarterback on its practice squad.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Jerry Jones/Roger Goodell Saga

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones did not react well when he first heard that running back Ezekiel Elliott was being handed a six-game suspension. That fateful phone conversation between Jones, commissioner Roger Goodell, and general counsel Jeff Pash instantly ignited a war between the Cowboys owner and the league office. Jerry Jones (vertical)

I’m gonna come after you with everything I have,” Jones said, according to Don Van Natta Jr. and Seth Wickersham of ESPN.com. “If you think [Patriots owner] Bob Kraft came after you hard [over Deflategate], Bob Kraft is a p—y compared to what I’m going to do.”

The article from the ESPN duo, which is worth reading in full, paints an ugly picture of where things currently stand between Jones and the NFL. The story also goes into detail about a major chasm between Goodell’s administration and the league’s owners. Even within Goodell’s upper ranks, there appears to be a great deal of mistrust. Despite all of that, it appears that Goodell is on the brink of an extension that will give him a pay bump over his current $42MM salary.

Goodell was reportedly “furious” about this extension being delayed, and the ESPN duo report the 11th-year commissioner was “emboldened” at the notion he would accept a deep pay cut after making the league’s owners a lot of money, while “taking many bullets for them,” during his tenure. The commissioner still has support from many owners, and the ownership contingent expects his salary to land around the $40MM-AAV mark, Wickersham and Van Natta Jr. report. This comes after ESPN reported Goodell asked in August for a deal worth around $49MM per year, provided he reached incentives, and a compensation package that included the usage of a private jet for he and his family.

Goodell might walk away if the owners “squeeze him too hard” regarding his salary, Van Natta Jr. and Wickersham report. The lack of a successor plays into Goodell’s thinking here.

Van Natta Jr. and Wickersham also report the owners have considered other high-profile commissioner candidates. One owner’s confidant reached out to NBA commissioner Adam Silver about taking over for Goodell. Silver quickly said no. The owners also reached out to the International Olympic Committee in an attempt to find a candidate with experience growing sports globally.

Goodell’s predecessor, Paul Tagliabue, was mentioned as a possible one-year stopgap option while Goodell’s long-term successor was determined. It’s not clear whether the 76-year-old Taliabue would be interested, but Jones reportedly has his own candidate in mind. Other owners, by in large, aren’t interested in a Jones-handpicked successor.

The ESPN reporters note this Jones-Goodell feud is not about the commissioner’s contract, but rather power and control.

Jerry’s message to Roger was ‘I run this league. You better get with it,'” a senior league executive told ESPN. “This is about power and control, not the contract. That’s all white noise.”

Meanwhile, Jones figures to become a point of discussion in the Colin Kaepernick case. The quarterback’s attorneys will delve into the relationship between Jones and Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter and will inquire about whether Jones pushed Schnatter to slam Goodell on an earnings call, Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports hears. A deposition for Jones could be finalized by mid-December. Schnatter, however, cannot be forced to give a deposition.

Sam Robinson contributed to this report.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Bennett, Kaepernick, Goodell

Did Martellus Bennett quit on the Packers after Aaron Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone? That was the feeling in Green Bay, according to one source who spoke with Ryan Wood of USA Today. Wood also indicates that the Packers took Bennett’s decision to retire after the season as a sign that he was already checked out and that may have led the team to release him here in November.

Bennett, one of the most sought-after free agents of the offseason, is now available for any team to claim off of waivers. It is expected that he will go unclaimed, but teams may consider signing him once he is available as a free agent.

While we wait to see how that plays out, here’s from around the NFL:

  • NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart says contract negotiations with commissioner Roger Goodell have been “productive [and] amicable” and he expects “that they’ll be wrapped up soon,” (Twitter link via Lindsay Jones of USA Today). Lockhart also noted that owners voted, 32-0, to authorize the compensation committee to negotiate a five-year contract extension with Goodell (Twitter link via Mark Maske of The Washington Post). Of course, that unanimous vote includes Cowboys owner Jerry Jones who is reportedly threatening to sue the NFL over the pending Goodell deal. Goodell is said to be “furious” about Jones’ actions, but Lockhart tells reporters that is not the case.
  • Colin Kaepernick attorney Mark Geragos will have the leeway to ask NFL owners about a great deal in the collusion case, as detailed by Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports. His line of questioning could include past high-profile disciplinary cases including the Ezekiel Elliott investigation, Deflategate, and Ray Rice. Meanwhile, those in the know like retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Peter Lichtman (now one of the top arbitrators in California) say that Geragos is a force to be reckoned with.
  • The NFL says that Kaepernick recently declined an invite to meet one-on-one with Goodell, but Geragos says that’s not the case (link via Robinson). “We responded immediately [to the Oct. 31 invite] that Colin would be happy to attend,” Geragos said of a personal meeting with Goodell. “Because of the grievance we asked that a mediator be present. A mediator would ensure that the discussions were productive and confidential and not used as a public relations stunt or prop by the league. Colin’s proposal was rejected.” Lockhart, meanwhile, says the lawyer’s claim is “disingenuous.”

Texans Have Internally Discussed Colin Kaepernick

After the Texans’ 20-14 defeat on Sunday at the hands of the Colts, there are questions abound about the Texans’ quarterback situation. Naturally, coach Bill O’Brien was asked about Colin Kaepernick on Monday morning. O’Brien confirmed that Kaepernick has been at least discussed in meetings with team officials, but it doesn’t sound like we should bank on him landing in Houston. Colin Kaepernick (vertical)

Again, we talk about everybody that’s out there every day. I coach the football team. What you saw yesterday, that’s what I’m in charge of. I just give my input and then I coach the football team,” O’Brien said, before adding that he “likes the guys” already in-house (Twitter link via Mark Berman of FOX 26).

This weekend, the Texans turned back to Tom Savage after losing Deshaun Watson for the season with a torn ACL. The results were not great. Savage completed 19-of-44 for 219 yards and a touchdown as the Texans allowed a divisional rival to snap three-game losing skid.

Shortly after Watson’s injury in practice, the Texans moved quickly to add Matt McGloin and T.J. Yates to the roster. We could see some further movement in the QB room, but it would be a surprise to see Kaepernick added to the mix at this time.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Colin Kaepernick

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and Texans owner Bob McNair, amongst others, will be deposed and asked to turn over all cell phone records and emails in relation to the Colin Kaepernick collusion case against the NFL, a league source tells ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (Facebook link). Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and owner 49ers Jed York are also among those on the deposition list, Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) hears.

Other owners, team officials, and league officials may also be deposed, but those are the individuals confirmed for now.

Here’s more on Kaepernick:

  • Colin Kaepernick’s attorney believes that the quarterback will sign with an NFL team soon. “I think within the next 10 days somebody will sign him,” Mark Geragos told Adam Carolla earlier this week (transcript via BleacherReport.com). “I think somebody’s gonna sign him. I think the NFL has to come to their senses, and realize every day that goes by just proves the collusion case even more.” Geragos may have confidence, but there’s no reason to expect a Kaepernick signing anytime soon. A potential spot opened up this week when Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson suffered a season-ending ACL tear, but Houston opted to sign Matt McGloin and T.J. Yates. For now, Tom Savage is the starter in Houston and there are no known plans for the team to audition Kaepernick.
  • NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart deferred to the NFLPA on the topic of having Kaepernick at the next meeting between players and owners (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). “We’d welcome his participation, but that’s an issue for the players to determine,” he said.

Texans Have No Plans To Work Out Colin Kaepernick

Texans owner Bob McNair has not given coaches the green light to audition Colin Kaepernick, despite a report from Howard Balzer of Sports On Earth (Twitter link) indicating otherwise. Balzer now indicates that his tweet was intended to be a joke. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has confirmed that McNair has not signed off on a Kaepernick workout.

Colin Kaepernick (vertical)

[RELATED: Deshaun Watson Done For Season]

The Texans have managed to stay afloat at 3-4 despite injuries to key defenders J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus. Asking them to keep their playoffs alive with Tom Savage under center, however, might be too much to ask. Kaepernick stands as the most polarizing figure in the football world today, so it stands to reason that the Texans may want to see what he can offer. But, for now, there are no plans to kick the tires on the former Niners signal caller.

Last week, McNair found himself in the middle of a major controversy when he likened the player-led anthem protests to “inmates running the prison.” He has since apologized for those remarks.

For now, the Texans will forge ahead with Savage as their starter against the Colts. The newly-signed Matt McGloin will be his backup.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Players Coalition Requests Meeting With Roger Goodell, Colin Kaepernick, Bob McNair

The Players Coalition, a group of roughly 40 players that was formed this year to help with criminal justice reform in various communities, have requested a face-to-face meeting with Roger Goodell, Texans owner Bob McNair, and Colin Kaepernick, as ESPN’s Jim Trotter tweets. The Coalition has requested that the meeting take place tomorrow in Philadelphia.

Bob McNair (Vertical)

The full request is available in Trotter’s tweet above and was seemingly triggered by a recent ESPN The Magazine story wherein McNair was quoted as saying, “we can’t have the inmates running the prison.” Although that is a common idiom, and although McNair clarified the comment by saying that he was referring to how the league has been making significant strategic decisions without adequate input from ownership, anything that could be construed as a social comment probably will be in today’s racially-charged NFL, and the Coalition certainly appeared to take it as such. The request stated that the “events” that have unfolded the last several days — it is unclear what events the request is referring to outside of McNair’s quote — demonstrate the “lack of seriousness that some league officials are approaching our discussions [sic].”

The Coalition goes on to say that it believes the only way towards progress is open dialogue, which is why it wants to meet with the Commissioner, McNair, and the player who is at the epicenter of the league’s social reform discussions. As ESPN’s Josina Anderson tweets, the Coalition believed it was important for Kaepernick to make his voice heard at the meeting.

However, Cam Inman of the Mercury News tweets that the NFL has no update as to whether the Coalition’s requested meeting would take place tomorrow. Per Anderson, the Coalition is not taking the league’s silence very well (Twitter link), but it seems likely that some response will be forthcoming. There is already a social activism-based meeting scheduled for players and owners this week, a meeting that Kaepernick has agreed to attend, so the league could feel that the Coalition’s request is largely redundant.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Texans, Dolphins, Alonso, Kaep

A number of Texans players — including wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and running back D’Onta Foreman — left practice today following franchise owner Bob McNair‘s comments in an ESPN The Magazine article, in which he compared national anthem protests to “inmates running the prison,” according to Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com. Some of the players who left practice ultimately returned, but the Houston coaching staff had to convince the team not to stage a full-scale walkout. Head coach Bill O’Brien — who says he is “100% behind” his players — later staged a 90-minute meeting in which players could engage in “candid conversation,” per Barshop. Left tackle Duane Brown called the comments “ignorant” and “embarrassing,” and said “the situation’s not over,” an indication further protests or other repercussions could be coming.

Here’s more from around the league:

NFC West Notes: Cardinals QB’s, Seahawks DE’s, Foster

Despite initial reports that Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer will undergo surgery on his broken arm and be out for eight weeks, the veteran signal caller may think he can return sooner than that. The 37 year-old reportedly told head coach Bruce Arians that he “may be able to return in 4-6 weeks”, according to Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com. This news conflicts with the original prognosis, and Arians didn’t seem to doubt his QB’s feeling. “That’d be great…it depends on what the surgeon says. He is a fast healer. He’s had it broken before and basically said he was back in five.” Drew Stanton will still have to hold down the fort for the time being as the team looks to regain its footing after a 33-0 beatdown at the hands of the Rams.

  • Even with the Palmer injury, it seems like the Cardinals won’t be bringing in free agent quarterback, Colin Kaepernick. Arians told Weinfuss when asked about signing the former 49ers quarterback, “We’ve never had more than two on our roster since I’ve been here. We liked Blaine Gabbert so much that we kept him this year. So, we’re really where we always are.” Although, the coach did express potential interest in “a practice squad arm”.
  • With defensive end Cliff Avril out for at least seven games, the Seahawks may be looking to bring a free agent into the fold, tweets Bon Condotta of the Seattle Times. Condotta adds in another tweet that he hears the team could look into 37 year-old Dwight Freeney. The longtime Colts star remains on the open market after suiting up for the Falcons last season.
  • Reuben Foster was rather noncommittal about when he would return from an injury he suffered this past Sunday. Now it appears that the rookie linebacker is “good to go” after tests on his ribs, reports Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. After being removed on two separate occasions in a loss to the Cowboys, it would seem that the 49ers linebacker has avoided his second long-term injury of his first professional season.