Report: Colin Kaepernick Collusion Case Revealed Teams Viewed Him as Starting QB

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2018

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) against the Seattle Seahawks during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Colin Kaepernick remains an unsigned free agent, and despite some arguments to the contrary, his level of play on the field is not the sole reason.

According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, internal team documents show that "teams viewed Kaepernick as being good enough not simply to be employed by an NFL team, but to be a starting quarterback for an NFL team."

This information has been unearthed as part of the quarterback's collusion grievance against the NFL, including from documents and witness testimony during depositions.

Kaepernick was notably the first to kneel during the national anthem in protest of racial discrimination at the start of the 2016 season. He became a free agent the following season but was unable to sign with a new team despite posting a respectable 90.7 quarterback rating in his 12 games.

He filed a grievance against the NFL in October, claiming the owners colluded to keep him out of the league.

Some have claimed he simply isn't good enough to play, like Dieter Kurtenbach of Fox Sports and Albert Breer of the MMQB:

Albert Breer @AlbertBreer

The No. 1 reason Colin Kaepernick is unsigned: He's not considered a starting-caliber player by any NFL evaluator anymore. Work from there.

However, the latest report shows that his talent wasn't in question. This fits with some of the discussion prior to the grievance. 

"He's a starter in this league," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Kaepernick in June of 2017, per Andre Vergara of Fox Sports. "We have a starter, but he is a starter in this league and I can’t imagine somebody won’t give him a chance to play."

Nicki Jhabvala of the Athletic also reported Broncos general manager John Elway was deposed as part of the collusion case, noting Denver was interested in trading for the quarterback in 2016 but money disagreements prevented a deal.

While organizations could argue his infamy among some fans made him not worth his production on the field, any notion he didn't deserve a roster spot appears incorrect.

Kaepernick and his legal team will still need to prove there was a coordinated effort to keep him out of the league, but it appears teams at least thought he was good enough to have a job.


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