Colin Kaepernick returning to the NFL is starting to become more of a reality with each passing day now. Despite the fact that the former one-time NFC Champion and starting quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers hasn’t even taken an NFL snap since 2016, the momentum is starting to build. After an NFL-driven workout in 2019 led nowhere for Kaepernick, buzz is building that teams are interested in his services for the 2020 season.
Like countless others in the wake of George Floyd’s Minneapolis killing and a renewed national fervor for racial justice, the NFL has reversed course from Kaepernick’s days as a player, openly encouraging the kind of peaceful protests he famously started in 2016 and committing big money to some of the causes he championed.
Former NFL coaches are now claiming they wanted to sign the veteran years ago. Current ones are taking calls about him. Hall of Famers are identifying potential landing spots. Super agent Drew Rosenhaus thinks it’s only a matter of time before a team signs Kaepernick for 2020. And Kaepernick himself is apparently “more motivated than ever” to resume his playing career.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has gotten on board as well, saying he encourages teams to sign Kaepernick and would welcome him back to the league, while fellow NFL executive Troy Vincent has echoed those remarks, suggesting the league wants him back.
Hurdles assuredly remain, but now that the NFL is publicly riding the tide of social change, here’s a rundown of teams that could make sense as potential Kaepernick landing spots:
There aren’t any teams with as many overt connections to Kaepernick as the Ravens. First and foremost: Greg Roman, the offensive coordinator who helped unleash Kap with the 49ers back in 2012 and is now working wonders with Lamar Jackson in the Ravens’ run-first attack. Roman said in 2019 that Kaepernick’s “body of work speaks for itself,” and it’s easy to see how he could integrate a dual-threat like Kap, either as a decoy, Jackson insurance or situational option QB. That’s essentially already what the Ravens train Robert Griffin III and Trace McSorley to do anyway; Kaepernick just happens to be bigger and better.
The Ravens passed on Kap before, for a variety of speculated reasons, but they were still reportedly close to signing him while John Harbaugh was coach. (Harbaugh’s brother, Jim, of course, coached the Niners when San Francisco drafted and ultimately named Kap their starter.) Plus, a lot has happened since then, with most of the general NFL public rallying behind Kaepernick’s original messaging. The Ravens are already built to contend for a Super Bowl, and they already have their unquestioned face of the franchise at QB. They’re much better positioned now to absorb any “distractions” Kap might bring as a proven No. 2.
Like the Ravens, the Texans already have their young, dual-threat franchise QB, but that’s partially what makes them a logical fit. AJ McCarron is a traditional Bill O’Brien pocket passer at the No. 2 spot, but Houston’s still got plenty of cap space to toy with, and if…