Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter said on Fox Sports 1's First Things First on Friday that he believes Kaepernick could wind up being Brady's successor in Foxborough:
"The replacement for Tom Brady ... might not come through the draft. ... I wouldn't be surprised if the Patriots looked at a guy like Kap. Like, I wouldn't be surprised. ... The Krafts are very, very fond of Colin Kaepernick. ... If someone will do it, it will be the people in New England."
Carter noted that he does not have any inside information on the matter and that he was only speaking based on what he knows about the Kraft family's stance on the controversial star.
The dual-threat passer was once considered to be one of the NFL's top up-and-coming stars. After San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith was sidelined by a concussion in the middle of the 2012 regular season, Kaepernick stepped in and led the 49ers to a Super Bowl XLVII appearance—and came within one play of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.
San Francisco made it to the NFC Championship Game the next season as well. That impressive start to his career led to a six-year, $126 million extension during the 2014 offseason.
Kaepernick would find his status as starter come into question during the 2015 season, though, and his time in the Bay Area would come to an end not long after.
Kaepernick went 1-10 as a starter in 2016 and completed just 59.2 percent of his passes for 2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions in 12 games, adding 468 yards and two scores on the ground.
It was during that same season that Kaepernick began the protest against racial injustice and police violence. After initially choosing to protest by sitting during the national anthem, he ultimately decided taking a knee would be more appropriate after consulting with an Army veteran.
Kaepernick opted out of the final year of his contract following the season and has not been signed to an NFL roster since then.
Meanwhile, New England will need to begin preparing for the post-Brady era. Brady did just lead the Patriots to a sixth Super Bowl title earlier this month, but at 41 years old, his time in the league may be nearing an end. He has made it clear in the past, though, that he intends to play until he's 45.
Playing until he's 45 years old would have Brady playing until at least the end of the 2022 season. At that point, Kaepernick would be 35 years old and out of the league for six years if he remains unsigned. New England could sign Kaepernick before then, of course, and groom him to eventually be Brady's successor.
After the Patriots traded Jacoby Brissett and Jimmy Garoppolo in 2017, 33-year-old journeyman Brian Hoyer served as Brady's backup in New England last season.