Colin Kaepernick

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.

 

 

NFC Notes: Kaepernick, Ward, Saints

More is coming out about Colin Kaepernick‘s collusion lawsuit against the NFL. Kaepernick’s lawyer, Mark Geragos, recently shed some light about some of the points they will attempt to prove that collusion exists between the NFL owners in the latest episode of his Reasonable Doubt podcast. Geragos pointed out the need for a “smoking gun” that proves there is coordinated effort from owners from blocking his client from signing with a franchise. In response to a question about a potential email regarding the collusion from Roger Goodell, Geragos stated “there is very good reason to believe that that exists,” the lawyer said (transcription via Pro Football Talk). “The interesting thing will be when the discovery comes, and I expect the discovery to be very quickly.” Even with the confidence coming from the lawyer, the overall sentiment around the case is that collusion will be a difficult charge to prove, but it looks like Kaepernick and his team are serious about their lawsuit and will look far and wide to see if any hard evidence exists.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • New Buccaneers safety T.J. Ward is apparently frustrated with his part-time defensive role, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. The reporter passes along that the veteran defensive back is at his “wits end” in regards to his role on the team. Ward was not on the field during Tampa Bay’s fourth quarter collapse at the hands of the Bills. The 30 year-old expected to bring more physicality when he signed a one-year, $4MM deal with the team after he was cut by the Broncos in the preseason. Ward only has 11 total tackles on the year and looks to be on his way out of the rotation after what transpired today.
  • Saints linebacker Hau’oli Kikaha could be on the trading block after his deactivation from today’s contest vs. the Packers, Larry Holder of NOLA.com speculates (Twitter link). It’s a disappointing turn of events for the former 2015 third round pick, who was benched in favor of defensive lineman Al-Quadin Muhammad. However, despite Kikaha’s struggles, the Saints defense has turned the corner in recent weeks, getting another takeaway today, after notching five turnovers last Sunday.
  • In other Saints news, we have now learned that the team’s former veteran cornerback Brandon Browner was arrested for cocaine possession last May, reports Amos Moralle III of NOLA.com. Browner last appeared for the team in 2015, but was mostly ineffective with the team deciding to move on from the defensive back that following offseason.

Latest On Colin Kaepernick, NFL Protests

One of the centerpieces of Colin Kaepernick‘s collusion grievance against the NFL will be President Donald Trump’s tweets and comments regarding his and other players’ racial inequality-themed protests and those words’ possible influence on owners, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports. La Canfora adds Kaepernick’s case will involve the numerous times the president has attempted to exert influence on owners regarding this matter, one that the quarterback is charging has him unemployed while numerous passers of lesser pedigrees are on teams’ rosters. Arguing certain inferior players are rostered while Kaepernick isn’t may not be enough to satisfy the CBA’s “burden of proof” element, so it appears Kaepernick’s side is taking a different approach.

Trump’s tweeted about having conversations with owners about protesting players and has discussed publicly his sway over them regarding this recent movement, and La Canfora writes Kaepernick’s lawyers could argue this has created a climate in which “numerous owners have colluded” to keep the quarterback from having a chance to sign as a free agent. Trump recently tweeted about speaking with Jerry Jones in late September regarding this issue, and the Cowboys owner made comments about the team benching protesting players in early October. Jones spoke about Trump discussing the game-day manual regarding anthem protocols as well, per La Canfora.

Kaepernick became a free agent in March by opting out of his 49ers contract, but San Francisco GM John Lynch said the team would have released him had he not done so.

Here’s the latest surrounding the Kaepernick grievance and the protest discussions that came out of the league meetings this week.

  • Other owners wish Jones would refrain from making bold pronouncements like his anthem directive in an effort to preserve the goodwill fostered between them and the players this week, Charles Robinson of Yahoo.com reports, adding the owners would like the NFL to stay off Trump’s political agenda. Jones could be an outlier among owners who have expressed optimism about talks with the players on social activism, Robinson writes. The Cowboys owner did not make further remarks about this issue after the owners’ meetings. Considering Jones speaks with the media often, this issue will come up again soon.
  • Michael Bennett said an early step toward further discussions with owners about social issues would be making sure Kaepernick signs with a team. “I think before we even negotiate anything about whether we sit, whether we stand [during the national anthem], it should be a negotiation about opening up the doors for Colin Kaepernick and giving him an opportunity again,” the Seahawks defensive end said, via Brady Henderson of ESPN.com. “Because I feel like through everything, that’s been lost.”
  • However, other players may not see a Kaepernick job as an automatic end to the protests. One anonymous member of the NFL players coalition, assembled this year to help with criminal justice reform in these players’ respective communities, told Ed Werder (Twitter link) a Kaepernick signing won’t just stop the protests. The same player told Werder (Twitter link) the quarterback “continues to isolate himself from [the coalition]” with this grievance.
  • The Jets player reps at this week’s owners’ meetings, Kelvin Beachum and Demario Davis, declined to answer questions about them. Davis did compose a statement, however. “I will say that the talks were very productive,” the linebacker said, via Daniel Popper of the New York Daily News. “It’s encouraging to me as an athlete to see so many athletes and owners so concerned about our country and pushing in the right direction. We have a tremendous platform in the NFL, and to whom much is given, much is required. And that’s why we simply can’t just play football.”
  • Jaguars owner Shad Khan said Trump’s failure to buy an NFL team has led to this crusade against the league. “This is a very personal issue with him,” Khan said (via Jarrett Bell of USA Today). “… He’s been elected president, where maybe a great goal he had in life to own an NFL team is not very likely. So to make it tougher, or to hurt the league, it’s very calculated.” Trump attempted to buy the Bills in 2014, but Terry Pegula wound up acquiring the franchise.