A vague sense of optimism emerged in the aftermath of the Colin Kaepernick collusion settlement that Kaepernick could soon be signed by an NFL team. Nearly a week later, and with offseason roster limits at 90, there’s no tangible sense that the two-year cold shoulder could be thawing.
Attorney Mark Geragos made a “bold prediction” on CNN on Saturday night that someone will do the “right thing” and sign Kaepernick within the next two weeks. The lawyer’s choice of words hints at a lingering sense of consternation regarding Kaepernick’s unemployment, even after the two sides resolved their past differences.
Barring a provision in the settlement agreement that promises a roster spot to Kaepernick on one of the league’s 32 teams (that’s highly unlikely), the league’s 32 teams are now left to their own devices in deciding who to pursue or not pursue. And with all teams on notice that anything they say among themselves can and will be used against them as possible proof of future collusion, they surely won’t communicate in any way about this.
Then again, they don’t need to. The NFL’s aversion to Kaepernick, whether based on football or non-football reasons, has hardened in place over an extended period of time. The league’s owners don’t like to be forced to do anything, and any contract offer to Kaepernick coming on the heels of the settlement would feel like capitulation.
If the league has been able to justify life without Kaepernick for two full NFL seasons, it won’t be difficult to continue to justify it, especially with the legal entanglement now in the rear-view mirror.
Also in the rear-view mirror is the anthem controversy. Thanks to a decision by the President to leave the NFL alone (surely, some sort of back-channel deal was struck), the huff-and-puff-and-maybe-blow-your-house-down crowd has returned to football. With or without collusion, every owner realizes that signing Kaepernick at this point invites the risk of opening the other end of a can that still contains plenty of worms.
That never should have been an issue for the league or its teams, but it was. The passage of time and the transfer of cash from the league to Kaepernick won’t make that go away. If anything, it will make the teams more determined to not give in.