Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

15 Oct 2017

Kaepernick Claims Collusion, Files Grievance Against NFL

Colin Kaepernick has filed a grievance against the National Football League, claiming the owners colluded to blackball him and keep him out of the league.

Before the news broke, we had some thoughts on where Kaepernick would (and would not be) a good fit during Sunday's games, and you'll see those comments when Audibles at the Line is published on Monday morning. We would appreciate it if everyone leaves the Audibles thread for discussion of what happened on the field on Sunday. Here, however, is the perfect place for collusion discussion. So if you've got anything to say, have at it.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 15 Oct 2017

124 comments, Last at 11 Nov 2017, 8:50pm by Wade8813


by GwillyGecko :: Sun, 10/15/2017 - 7:28pm

Fuck you Kap, why cant you just go away and leave our league alone.

You don't have a job because you suck and you would rather grandstand than stay in game-shape.

SF wishes they had picked Alex Smiff instead of you, Im sure.

by RickD :: Sun, 10/15/2017 - 8:05pm

Do we really have to go through the entire list of QBs who got playing time ahead of CK?

Matt Cassel??

by GwillyGecko :: Sun, 10/15/2017 - 8:42pm

Teams want backups that won't cause media attention. Kap doesnt have a job for the same reasons as Tim Tebow:he sucks and he grandstands.

by Megamanic :: Sun, 10/15/2017 - 10:25pm

Good comparison, two QBs that are out of the league because of their penchent for going down on one knee :)

by Wade8813 :: Tue, 10/17/2017 - 2:29am

He's better that a fair number of starters. I'm also not convinced that teams care about the "media circus"


by jtr :: Wed, 10/18/2017 - 3:34pm

The whole "distraction" thing bugs the hell out of me. As if it would destroy an NFL team to have the players think about something other than football for five minutes. It's not like the team would have to study anthem film instead of game film all week. The only thing bringing Kaepernick in would change for a team's day to day operation is that there would be a couple of questions about Kaep in he press conferences that coaches and players have to do anyways.

by theslothook :: Wed, 10/18/2017 - 3:40pm

Do you remember the TO fiasco? The Tebow circus? Ray Rice?

Those were both situations where players and coaches were constantly pressed for quotes on non football related matters. It was a messy distraction that was simply not worth whatever value was brought on the field.

by roguerouge :: Wed, 10/18/2017 - 6:34pm

Yeah, but I also remember Randy Moss doing great things while in a Pats uniform after people said the same thing about him. You'll recall that the Pats also signed Haynesworth, Ochocinco, AND Tebow, all on the rebound, just to check out if they'd be worthwhile. They weren't but the "distraction" wasn't a problem. If your team's talking about distraction, it's probably a sign of weak institutional culture or ones that value pr over winning or forget that they're in the entertainment business. In basketball, the Lakers and the Cavaliers won championships with players that hated one another and ultimately demanded trades. Get the best talent, win, and that will muffle the distraction element.

by roguerouge :: Wed, 10/18/2017 - 6:50pm

I don't know, Tebow won that playoff game against the Steelers. (I'm joking... The Steelers lost that game, Tebow didn't win it.) The problem was his talent, not the distraction. Heck, letting the media focus on a guy like that shelters the rest of the team from their nonsense. It's a net positive: if you're talking about a media circus issue, you're not going to give the other team bulletin board material.

by jtr :: Wed, 10/18/2017 - 7:02pm

If I was a player, I would love to have somebody like Kaepernick, Tebow, or Rex Ryan on my team to soak up all the media attention. It means that much less attention on me if I drop a pass, miss a tackle, or say something stupid in a press conference.

by dryheat :: Wed, 10/18/2017 - 4:55pm

Are you kidding me? Look at the interview questions Mike McCarthy had to submit to this week....and that was simply based on the perception of a QB vacancy. If GB were to actually sign Kap, there would be U.S. veterans protesting every damn day at the stadium, The POTUS tweeting non-stop about what a travesty has taken place, which would lead to more rallies, not to mention the instant QB controversy that's going to happen inside the locker room and out the first time Hundley throws an interception with Kap on the sideline.

And this seems worth it to you?

by Alternator :: Wed, 10/18/2017 - 5:39pm

If Hundley proves to be bad, and Rodgers is expected to be available in mid-January...yeah, I'd say it's worthwhile at that point, if Kaep is good enough to salvage the season. It's a bit questionable since the Packers are built around Rodgers' skill set moreso than most teams, but is at least worth giving serious consideration - IF Hundley proves to be terrible.

by roguerouge :: Wed, 10/18/2017 - 6:36pm

Yeah, the economic value of a playoff run, especially one that results in a Willis Reed-esque moment with Rodgers returning to the field to win playoff games, is absolutely worth the distraction.

by jtr :: Wed, 10/18/2017 - 7:09pm

I agree with the two posters above that if picking up Kaep improves the odds of the Packers salvaging a playoff season, it's worth the rest. Doubly so for Green Bay, which doesn't have an owner's vanity to protect. And as far as this goes:

>not to mention the instant QB controversy that's going to happen inside the locker room and out the first time Hundley throws an interception with Kap on the sideline.

Any team that makes personnel decisions based on fan backlash deserves what they get for it. As long as Mike McCarthy's players and GM trust him to make playing time decisions, this is a silly thing to worry about. If he doesn't have that trust, the team has deeper issues than who their QB is.

by Wade8813 :: Thu, 10/19/2017 - 10:27pm

The Seahawks had veterans protesting outside their facilities - it was like 5 old guys quietly protesting. And it turns out Michael Bennett stopped and chatted with them, and BOTH sides said it was a great dialog.

This veteran would prefer you stop pretending we all agree with each other. Veterans have a wide and diverse set of beliefs and opinions. Personally, I think most of the criticism against this protest is asinine (and often far more unpatriotic than anything Kap is doing).

by amin purshottam :: Sun, 10/15/2017 - 9:17pm

When he had a good coaching staff, he went to the Super Bowl and I think another NFC championship game. He is WAY better then some of the scrubs who are either starting or are back ups in the league. While not collusion, he is being black balled by many many teams. I mean you would rather have Josh Mcowna or Ryan Fitzpatrick? I think if he was in the right system with good coaching he would be better than average. Not top 10 or 15 but pretty good. I think he would have done ok under Shanny JR. He does not “suck”. I am sure he would thrive with Andy Ried also.

Amin Purshottam

by roguerouge :: Sun, 10/15/2017 - 10:48pm

Kaep had an OK year last year for a terrible team. Among QBs with 150+ attempts, he was 13th in TD%, 6th in avoiding INT%, a mediocre 16th in adjusted yards/attempt and 17th in yards/completion, a below average 26th in completion %, and a meh 23rd in QBR and 17th in QB rating. Advanced scouting had him better in the pocket than while scrambling.

So, the real question is: why hasn't he been hired when he's better than or equal to the starting QBs for the Jets, Browns, 49ers, Jaguars, Broncos, Bears, and Rams? While some of those teams are rebuilding and investing draft capital in the position, the Texans and Broncos are in Win Now Mode. With an acceptable QB, the Broncos have the defense to make a deepish playoff run. The Jets have nobody and no prospects for it, because their current mediocrity is old and playing well against bad defenses. The Browns took a chance on RGIII last year. The Bears spent $18 million on a QB with much worse results and he's already benched. The Rams didn't have a plan in place if Goff's historically terrible rookie season is his actual skill level; good thing that worked our for them, but a good result doesn't justify a bad process.

The Ravens, in particular, style themselves as a playoff team and just had their QB get a back injury. Their coach and GM wanted Kaep as a backup, having had experience with a very similar QB who now starts for the Bills. But the owner basically nixxed it. These are not football decisions.

If Dak Prescott gets injured, the Cowboys have no one behind him to keep that team afloat. Take a look at the backups at QB for the mobile star QBs at Green Bay and Seattle, if you feel that stylistic match is the only thing that matters in a backup QB.

Here are the worst QBs who entered the season listed number two on the depth chart: Peterman, Henne, Hackenberg, Mallett, McCarron, L Jones, Tolzein, Cassell, Clemens, Manuel, K Moore, Geno Smith, Colt McCoy, Hundley, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Schaub, Manion, Boykin, and Stanton. None of them have the past success or the last season success of Kaep.

And now the business concerns... African-Americans are about 15% of the audience for the NFL. It would have been good for the league to have avoided this controversy. Kaep's situation reminds audiences of all the bad stuff that doesn't get you blackballed: child abuse, spousal abuse, etc. Goodell certainly should have twisted someone's arm at one of the terrible teams to hire Kaep as a backup to prevent this PR for the good of the league. Having royally pissed off Jerry Jones and Bob Kraft in consecutive seasons, however, I wonder if he has the influence to do that now, as both owners are considered influential among league owners. I firmly believe that if Rooney were alive today, he would have told his peers to think about the good of the league.

I'd also say that winning is the best business decision, especially for teams on the cusp of the playoffs or in weak divisions.

I'd also say the impact is on younger viewers you're hoping will turn into long-time fans. To the extent that there's a generational gap in the responses to this situation, annoying older fans at one franchise is a short-term cost, while alienating young people nationally is a long-term cost. Given the impact of CTE on youth football, they should pay attention to long-term impacts on the popularity of the game. I don't think football can get much more popular in the present day, so avoiding potential long-term catastrophes is what you do when you're a business in that position... especially when the very youthful NBA is your major domestic competition.

by Pat :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 9:13am

"So, the real question is: why hasn't he been hired when he's better than or equal to the starting QBs for the Jets, Browns, 49ers, Jaguars, Broncos, Bears, and Rams?"

I can't say I know the answer - it could totally be collusion, it could totally be they don't want the headache, etc. But there's something else that it could be - something that the original poster hinted at that you're not really acknowledging.

Maybe they don't want Kaepernick because they don't believe that he's fully committed to football. Is that so crazy? There've been stories about him working out, but... they're put out by his people, they're fluff-filled (he's working out "six hours a day" - which... seems short, actually), and quarterback is much more mental than physical anyway. He visited the Seahawks, who didn't even work him out on the field - which makes me wonder whether they saw or heard something there that made them back away.

Honestly, I don't get this "why doesn't Kaepernick have a job" thing. Comparing him to all the backups you listed is totally pointless. Frequently backup QBs have jobs totally unrelated to being an actual on-the-field QB. Koy Detmer was a backup QB for the Eagles not because they thought he'd be a good backup, but because he was a fantastic holder on field goals and knew all the positions in the offense by heart.

In fact, if you look at guys who do have backup QB positions, as just a 'QB performance' rating, in general, it totally doesn't make sense. Vince Young was out of the league a year after his year in Philly - which was a year after a decent performance in 2010 which was marked with disagreements with his coach. Even in 2011, he wasn't the *worst* QB in the league - 2012 had godawful QB campaigns from Kansas City and Jacksonville. Young conceivably could've been an improvement there. But he didn't get a job, because he wasn't coachable, and he had always been leaning on athletic ability. Which could be part of the reason why they're shying away from Kaepernick, too.

Do I think Kaepernick is getting an honest fair shake from teams? No, probably not - but I also think it's possible that a good portion of it *is* totally football-related.

I mean... the 49ers benched Kaepernick for Blaine Gabbert. Let me say that again. *Blaine Gabbert*. I don't know why people think that he's a total no-brainer after that.

by coremill :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:20pm

The 49ers did not "bench" Kaapernick for Gabbert. Kaepernick had surgery and missed most of the off-season workouts and the first part of training camp rehabbing while the new coaching staff was installing a new offensive system. Gabbert started the season as the starter because he'd been healthy and so had gotten the practice reps in the new offense. As soon as Kaepernick got healthy and had had enough practice reps to learn the offense, Kaepernick got the starting job.

As for the "maybe they don't want Kaepernick because they don't believe that he's fully committed to football" angle, 1) there's never been any basis to think Kaepernick isn't fully committed to football, and 2) Jay Cutler, who spoke openly about not being committed to football and had just RETIRED because he didn't want to play anymore, got a job, which really undermines the credibility of this argument.

by Pat :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 2:47pm

Yeah, so the spam filter ate a much larger post, but the short of it is:

1) Kaepernick was benched for Gabbert, just Google it
2) John Lynch openly came out and said that Kaepernick needed to come out and say he's committed to football. When a GM says that, that's a pretty strong basis to think that.

by Bryan Knowles :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 3:05pm

Alright, let's settle this "who was benched for who" argument right now, because it's one of my biggest pet peeves.

In 2015, Colin Kaepernick started the season. He suffered an injured thumb, injured knee and torn labrum. He played through it for a few weeks, and was then replaced by Blaine Gabbert. If you want to consider that a benching, I suppose you could -- it's not like it was an Aaron Rodgers "guy physically can't play" scenario. I would refer to that as an injury replacement, however. But if you want to argue that Kaepernick was benched in 2015, you're on at least semi-solid footing.

In 2016, Kaepernick missed most of the offseason program, including minicamp and all but the last week of training camp, recovering from his labrum surgery. This was also the year Chip Kelly was hired, and was installing a new offense. Because Kaepernick had not had time to learn the new offense, as he was recovering from surgery, he instead went with Gabbert as his starting quarterback. This is 100% definitively not a benching. In fact, when Kaepernick was fully healthy and had a few weeks of practice under his belt, GABBERT was benched for KAEPERNICK.

In December of 2016, Kaepernick had a terrible game against the Bears, completing just one pass in the first half of a snowy game. He then WAS benched for Blaine Gabbert, but started the next week anyway. That's the only time he has ever been benched explicitly for poor performance, rather than injury.

Also, here is the full John Lynch quote, which I believe is being taken out of context:

"I would tell you with my conversations with Colin, he is fully committed to wanting to be in this league. I gave that opinion to Colin myself: 'I think you are having a little bit of an image crisis in terms of, not so much what you did last year, but people are wondering: Is this most important to you?' At a position where the guys who succeed at the position are the guys who live it, breathe it, the CEOs at that position. And I think there is a perception that football is not at the top of the list."

So Lynch DID say that Kaepernick needed to say he's committed to football -- but he said that because of a public perception thing, not because he believed Kaepernick was not committed to football.

by Pat :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 3:31pm

"I would refer to that as an injury replacement, however."

Yeah, that's not how the coach referred to it. He said he the benching would let Kaepernick "step back and breathe", after saying he was playing cautiously, and there were going to be changes coming (which was said *before* any injuries). The injured thumb happened in Week 7. Injured knee happened the week later, and then he was benched. But neither of those were serious - he only ended up on the injury report once. The serious one was the torn labrum, but for that, he didn't report pain in his shoulder until after he was benched (the Monday after the bye). So... "injury replacement" is a pretty damn big stretch. He was pretty obviously benched because he was playing like crap.

And yeah, in 2016, Gabbert was benched for Kaepernick. I'm not saying Gabbert is better than Kaepernick. I'm saying the fact that they went back and forth indicates how low the NFL's perception of him is. The 49ers went back and forth between him and Gabbert at the end. That's the level that Kaepernick had fallen to.

"So Lynch DID say that Kaepernick needed to say he's committed to football -- but he said that because of a public perception thing, not because he believed Kaepernick was not committed to football."

Edit: Blah, I forgot the spam filter ate my first comment. Anyway: what I had *meant* to say was that what Lynch said is exactly what you would expect a GM to say who doesn't think Kaepernick is committed to football, but doesn't want to come out and actually say it, because the public perception of "you can't be opposed to social injustice and still be focused on football" is pretty darn terrible.

I mean, in 2015-2016, there were comments criticizing Kaepernick's decision making and football intelligence, but again, same problem - you can't come out and say a guy in Kaepernick's position doesn't have the kind of football knowledge you want. The optics there are awful.

Of course, you're welcome to disagree there, sure. But to me, Lynch's comments were a pretty clear "well, *I* don't think this... but some OTHER guys think he's not committed to football" - which is another way of saying "I think this but I'm not going to admit it."

by Pat :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 3:59pm

The spam filter keeps eating my comments if I try to link to an article, but I just wanted to add more evidence to this - because the bizarre sudden perception change on Kaepernick is one of *my* pet peeves. Before all of the protest related incidents happened, there already were plenty of people thinking that Kaepernick was nearly done.

Andy Benoit had a piece on SI about this - he stressed Kaepernick's problems were poor ability to read coverages, slow decision making, poor pocket presence, poor play design understanding, and poor mechanics.

Of course, that was before 2016, and Cian Fahey's evaluation suggested that he had improved and was playing really well in 2016 by the end. I'm just not sure that most NFL teams would agree with that assessment. Or that they'd be willing to rewrite the book based on half a season playing with a coach whose reputation around the league isn't good.

Again, not saying it makes sense that no one's signed him. But Mike Freeman's piece on Bleacher Report suggested that 20% of the teams in the league think he's done, period. And if you've got 20% of the teams thinking that... the rest of the league's opinion of his ability can't be nearly as high as what people are making it out to be.

by Wade8813 :: Thu, 10/19/2017 - 8:42pm

Andy Benoit is a flaming moron. You should generally never reference him as a credible source in any manner for any reason. As just one example, he asked what happens to Doug Whaley if the Bills go 6-10... after Whaley had already been fired.

Most people who talk about Kap's ability do so based on misconceptions, vague generalizations, or outright lies. It's perfectly fair for people to say Kap wasn't a good QB before this controversy. But neither are several other players who have starting jobs in the NLF (never mind a backup job).

I compiled a list of 7 players who have starting NFL jobs this year (or would have, if it wasn't for injury). Looking at career stats, Kaepernick was 4th in completion rate, 4th in TD%, had the best Int rate (by a large margin), and was 3rd in Y/A. And he was arguably the best QB at rushing in the NFL on top of that.

And that was despite playing for a team that imploded around him due to injury and terrible decisions by the FO.

For reference, the 7 starting QBs are Newton, Bortles, Tannehill, McCown, Siemien, Manning, and Winston (I excluded rookies, and guys like Goff)

by Alexander :: Fri, 10/20/2017 - 12:32am

I'd argue that of those, there are only 2 that fans dont hate (Newton & Winston), and of those 2, fans will hate both if they dont improve in the next 2 years (Both are younger than Kaep). A quality GM would not bring in any of the other 5, except as a backup, and would, in fact, be looking to move on from them ASAP. Denver, SF, & MIA are obviously looking to move on, and the others aren't really clear.

by Wade8813 :: Fri, 10/20/2017 - 1:24pm

Fans hating a player isn't a good barometer. And the numbers I looked at were career stats. Eli has people who argue he should/will be in the Hall of Fame.

I'm not sure what counts as good stats to look at. But if you look at their Completion rate, TD%, INT%, and Y/A, I would take Kap's numbers over the other two any day. And he's arguably a better runner than Cam, and Eli is basically a statue. And that's despite the fact that Kap's team imploded around him.

    Cmp / TD% / Int% / Y/A

Kap 60.0 / 4.3 / 1.8 / 7.3
Cam 58.8 / 4.6 / 2.8 / 7.4
Eli 59.9 / 4.7 / 3.1 / 7.1

Kap could probably be signed for $6 million or less. Cam and Eli both cost about $21 million.

by Pat :: Fri, 10/20/2017 - 3:57pm

Looking at career stats is the problem. Kaepernick literally cratered his last three seasons. Obviously if you look at *career* stats, he'll look fine. But his last two seasons, he was one of the worst QBs in the NFL.

Your opinion is obviously that his team imploded around him. That may not be the opinion of most teams in the NFL. Players in the NFL called him "terrible" and "done." At the end of 2015, you could find a hundred articles saying that he can't read defenses, and listing half a dozen other issues. Yes, at the end of 2016, people were saying "hey, he's playing great" - but really, why in the world do you think GMs would be rushing to sign this guy normally?

Again, I'm not saying that if it wasn't for the protests, he'd still be unsigned. I'm saying there are probably plenty of teams that look at Kaepernick and just think that he's not worth it. And I have no idea why people think a few good games at the end of the season totally change that.

by Wade8813 :: Mon, 11/06/2017 - 3:40am

Did you pay attention to the NFL at ALL from 2014 on? The 49ers imploded worse than just about any team I've ever seen (excluding deliberate fire sales). Sure, players have said lots of things. Of course, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Von Miller, Michael Bennett, Cameron Heyward, Richard Sherman, Brandon Marshall (LB), and others have all voiced the opinion that he's good enough to play in the NFL and is being blackballed, or words to that effect.

The last 3 years, Kap's Y/A went down, but for the most part, his completion percent, TD%, and Int rate were all fairly constant, despite his sack rate over those 3 years being 9.9% (for a frame of reference, Russell Wilson, playing behind an OL often referred to as one of the worst in the NFL for most of his career, has never had a sack rate over 9.8).

And Kap is still arguably the best QB in the NFL at rushing.

Should teams be beating down the door to sign him? No, of course not. But he's clearly better than Tom Savage, and any number of other QBs currently starting.

by dryheat :: Mon, 11/06/2017 - 8:02pm

I find any argument that Kap is the best QB in the NFL at rushing ridiculous.

by Wade8813 :: Sat, 11/11/2017 - 8:50pm

I'm not saying he is the best, but he's in the discussion.

Last year he led the NFL in rushing DYAR and was 4th in 31.9% DVOA. His career Y/A is better than anything Russell Wilson has done outside of 2014, is better than Cam's career best, ties Mariota (but with far more yards, and a much worse OL), and is better than Rodgers' by a full yard per attempt.

by Alexander :: Fri, 10/20/2017 - 4:46pm

Let me revise the first part: Fans CORRECTLY hate them.

What you have done is posted a list of QBs that teams should have already moved on from, or are trying to (also many are younger than Kaep). Like, yes, Eli Manning is trash, he only still has a job because 1) He won 2 SBs with NY; 2) Manning; 3) He never gets injured.

If the 49ers had beaten the Ravens and Kaep never missed games he would still be the San Fransisco starter.

by Wade8813 :: Mon, 11/06/2017 - 3:50am

Except a lot of fans DON'T hate those players. Again, see my point about people arguing that Eli belongs in the HOF. Cam isn't that much younger than Kapernick, and the odds that Carolina moves on from him any time soon is small. And Cam isn't that much younger than Kap (and has more playing time, which is probably the main factor, from a perspective of analyzing his development)

If teams are trying to move on from these QBs, they could have EASILY done so. Just trade the guy, and move on.

by roguerouge :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 7:59pm

Well, his former teammates loved him. They gave him the team's Len Eshmont award, which is I guess the most prestigious team award that the 49ers hand out each season. The award was voted on by San Francisco players and is given to the 49er who "best exemplifies the inspirational and courageous play of Len Eshmont," who I've never heard of. To me, that's at least evidence that he could play the traditional backup role of good locker room guy.

by Pat :: Tue, 10/17/2017 - 11:56am

Backup QBs aren't brought in to be good locker room guys. They're brought in to be guys who work well with the coaches and understand the offense. There's really no evidence that Kaepernick is one of those guys, and even if he *is*, he'd demand a much higher salary than other guys who can do the job just as good.

I mean, exactly what evidence do we have that Kaepernick can learn a new offense quickly? Maybe if Jim Harbaugh or Chip Kelly were in the league, they'd pick him up, but... they aren't.

by roguerouge :: Wed, 10/18/2017 - 10:55am

"exactly what evidence do we have that Kaepernick can learn a new offense quickly?" The fact that he played about the same by DVOAunder Jim Harbaugh and OC Greg Roman in 2014, Jim Tomasula and OC Geep Chryst in 2015, and Chip Kelly and OC Curtis Modkins in 2016?

by Pat :: Thu, 10/19/2017 - 12:24pm

Um. What?

Kaepernick, 2014: 91 DYAR, -8.4% DVOA
Kaepernick, 2015: -182 DYAR, -21.5% DVOA
Kaepernick, 2016: -145 DYAR, -17.5% DVOA

I'm missing how those three years are "about the same". -5 to -10% (with a DYAR of around ~100) is still considered an "okay" year for a lot of QBs. Bradford in Philly in 2015, for instance. Osweiler in Denver in 2015. Good enough that they've got a chance at keeping their jobs.

Around -20%, -150 to -200 DYAR is a bad year for most QBs, one that puts you in danger of losing your job unless you've got a big contract or are a high draft pick rookie. It's telling that those seasons are on opposite sides of 0 DYAR.

by roguerouge :: Fri, 10/20/2017 - 9:07am

Simple. I went by QB rank in those categories.

2016: DYAR 29th DVOA 30th. (just ahead of Flacco)
2015: 35th/34th. (just two slots behind Luck)
2014: 28th and 29th. (7-10 slots ahead of Newton, Carr, Bridgewater)

So, basically, he was relatively the same under two professional coaches (Harbaugh and Kelly) and dipped a bit under Tomasula, whose administration was a dumpster fire.

People are making arguments about relative worth: should he have a job over X set of QBs. Rank is a perfectly fine way to make that argument.

I also had statistics further up in the thread that showed his abilities in other stats.

by Pat :: Fri, 10/20/2017 - 4:14pm

"People are making arguments about relative worth: should he have a job over X set of QBs. Rank is a perfectly fine way to make that argument."

No, it isn't. Not when you're that far down in rank. There are way too many other things that fluctuate down that low. He couldn't have ranked 35th in 2016 because *there weren't enough other quarterbacks*. If you rank top in the league, sure, then you can use that to make the argument. But when you're at the bottom for multiple years? No, that's not a good argument.

Yes, he was doing better than guys who still have jobs - Flacco, Luck, Newton, Carr. But those guys also have huge contracts that the team can't get out of. And they're currently employed. *Releasing* those QBs would *add* to the cost of bringing in a replacement. Or you have rookies - Goff, Wentz. Those guys are obviously going to stick around. When you're down at the bottom like that, and you're a *starter*, you're going to lose your job, unless contract or draft status keeps it for you. And Kaepernick's contract *easily* allowed the team to release him.

Look at 2016, the non-huge contract, draft pick types below Kaepernick: Osweiler (released), Keenum (released), Fitzpatrick (released). Do those 3 still have jobs? Yes, as *backups*. And skills as a starter aren't the same as skills as a backup. Hence the reason why you frequently have guys as backups for forever and you're like "how does this guy have a job?" Tim Hasselbeck, Koy Detmer, Jim Sorgi. Getting a backup job is not the same as getting a starting job.

by Wade8813 :: Thu, 10/19/2017 - 8:27pm

We don't know what his salary demands are. If they really were super high, don't you think there would be a million reports of "Hey, we met with him, but he's looking for more money than we're willing to pay".

Also, Mike Freeman, of Bleacher Report, tweeted that Kap being unsigned because of salary demands is a "straight up lie", and Kap apparently retweeted it.

by Wade8813 :: Tue, 10/17/2017 - 2:32am

Well, we KNOW, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Cutler is not remotely committed to football. And he has a $10 million dollar contract to be far worse than Kap has ever been.

Kap wasn't benched for Gabbert - he was benched until he waived the injury guarantees in his contract.

by Pat :: Thu, 10/19/2017 - 3:42pm

We really don't. We know what he's publicly said. And we also know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that players frequently say things that aren't true to make themselves look better to the public.

"My heart's not totally committed to this" sounds a hell of a lot better than "the only team that wanted me was the Jets, and they suck, so I'm not going there." And the retirement announcement was really to make Fox Sports happy so they could sign him as an announcer.

Also, as said previously, Kaepernick was definitely benched for Gabbert in 2015. I have no idea why people are arguing that it was anything other than a benching. Tomsula literally said:

"And then obviously, uh, the one, uh, I met with the quarterbacks yesterday, or Monday, and I made the decision to go with Blaine Gabbert this week. It was a tough decision. All those decisions are tough. But I felt that’s where we need to go, so that’s where we are there. [...] This was just the decision I felt I wanted Colin to step back, breath and look at things through a different lens, and to keep working and preparing but to just step back and take a look at things. That’s what I want."

by Wade8813 :: Thu, 10/19/2017 - 8:14pm

I'm not just talking about his statements. I'm talking about when he was split out wide because they were going to run a wildcat play, and he stood around with his hands on his hips, giving ZERO effort.

Apparently, he wasn't supposed to block or anything, but even looking like it was a possibility would have kept the defender paying attention to him.

by dryheat :: Fri, 10/20/2017 - 8:34am

Not moving means the cornerback can't jack you up at the snap. Once the WR moves forward, he's fair game. We just saw that 2 weeks ago, with Cutler, I think...another one of fandom's great "no-effort" touchstones. But it's the smart play.

by Wade8813 :: Fri, 10/20/2017 - 1:26pm

He doesn't have to move, but pretending that he's going to move pre-snap means the defender has to keep an eye on him.

He can just fall to the ground as soon as the ball is snapped, if that's all he's worried about.

by JimZipCode :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:22am

The Ravens, in particular, style themselves as a playoff team and just had their QB get a back injury. Their coach and GM wanted Kaep as a backup, having had experience with a very similar QB who now starts for the Bills. But the owner basically nixxed it. These are not football decisions.

Ravens probly would have signed him, I put it at ~80%, but then his girlfriend tweeted this on August 2:


And Kaepernick instantly became the LAST football player Bisciotti would ever sign. You can call that a "non football" decision, and I guess it is, but it certainly makes sense.

I wish the tweet hadn't happened. I'd sure as hell rather have Kaep as a backup than Ryan Mallet; and maybe as a starter, given the way Flacco has played so far this season.

by Karl Cuba :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:40pm

That tweet was sent after the Ravens had informed Kap they wouldn't be signing him (on Biscotti's orders).

It was still a £&@¥ing stupid thing to tweet but they'd already made their decision.

by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:53am

"Jets, Browns, 49ers, Jaguars, Broncos, Bears, and Rams"

jets- great teammate stand-up guy (truthfully no pun intended) mccown gerta influence on youngsters petty and jhackenberg and team quit possibly wanting to take quarterback early in 2018 draft. do not see kaepernick as fit for jets.

browns- drafted Kizer early. kaepernick makes no sense for Cleve unless/until Kizeer determined tio vbe garbage

Jaguars- yes, Kaepernick to jacghuiars possible3 good fit

Brocnso- Seimian good thrower of ball. also drafted p. lynch early last year. he problaly sucks. kaepernick better than Siemian? not sure aboput tbhat.

bears- no, drafted trubisky at top odf draft. Kaepernicks makes no sens on Bears

rams - see Bears. isnert Goff where you see trubisky

by roguerouge :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 7:50pm

I can see the merits of your analysis, although I disagree at times. For some of these assessments, I feel that it depends on WHEN you make the decision to sign/not sign. For example, with Goff, there were huge odds against him being even below average, let alone what he's done thus far. So, one could make the case that a responsible franchise in a new stadium might get a backup incase that they made a mistake with Goff or that he was permanently damaged by Fisher. Obviously, they shouldn't sign Kaepernick now, or when it became apparent to the coaching staff that he was better than the tape showed, but it was silly not to hedge their bets months ago. For the Bears, they were widely panned for a panic trade to get Trubisky, and, of course, they could have signed Kaepernick instead of Glennon for the one year prove-it starter role. I'm also deeply skeptical of Trubisky's value now, just as I was when he was drafted. For the Browns, they've been bringing in legions of QBs last year and this year. And it's only a second round pick for Kizer, which allows them to have him sit for a while and learn. Kaepernick could actually improve Kizer's long-term worth by letting him get acclimated. I agree with you that it's not clear if Kepernick is better or worse than Siemian, but for me that's a reason to sign him.

I guess you and I just disagree on whether a team should have a quality backup or temporary starter at QB. I think there's a value to getting an under-valued mediocre QB on a good deal for some kinds of teams: ones who are contending and need a QB as their last piece or a dependable backup in case of problems, those with young QBs who might benefit from sitting and learning for a while, or QB-needy teams who have nothing to lose from trying several different QBs.

I happen to be a fan of a team that devotes significant resources to having and training quality backups: we have Handsome Jimmy G now in case Brady gets injured. In fact, I could see the argument that my team SHOULD HAVE signed Kaep so that they could trade Garoppolo for a ransom in draft picks this summer. And New England is one of the few fan bases that wouldn't have exploded if they'd signed him: In Bill We Trust, and all that.

by roguerouge :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 8:23pm

I'd argue that the list of teams that should have signed him could reasonably include:

Jaguars (to be their starter to help the D and run game win a weak division),
Colts (on a prove-it deal to be interim starter while Luck heals to keep them in the race to win a weak division),
Bears (instead of Glennon),
Browns (interim starter deal to give Kizer time to mature physically and mentally, he's only 21),
Ravens (as interim starter at least: Flacco's back injury is clearly hurting his performance or else he's lost it and needs replacing),
Redskins (because it would be funny to drive Cousins nuts and this is a team in win-now mode so a quality backup makes sense here)
Broncos (better backup than Osweiler and might be better starter than Siemian, just need an adequate QB to be a serious playoff team with that Defense)
and the Pats (as a backup to rehabilitate Kaep's image, no fan revolt, trade Garoppolo for draft picks to make the team better).

With the benefit of perfect hindsight, the teams that should have signed Kaep as a quality backup back in training camp to prepare for QB injuries that would happen in the future during the regular season could include the Titans, Raiders, Packers, maybe the Vikings (backups have been okay), maybe the Jets (if they actually want to win games? I don't even know with those guys this year). The Rams and Texans got lucky with their young QBs, so they're off the hindsight list, although I would argue that a good team should have better contingency plans than they went into the season with.

by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 8:32pm

will just agree to disagree.

supopsoe is possible to argue for or against nay team in league which pretty much you just did when wrote Pates should have signed him who had Bardy, Garoppol o and Brissett (who I liked in college and sitll do)

by roguerouge :: Tue, 10/17/2017 - 8:37am

Yes, I'm excited to have Brissett be doing as well as he has been for the Colts.

by roguerouge :: Tue, 10/17/2017 - 9:18am

That's fine. Just to be clear: the perfect hindsight paragraph was to make the point that no matter how good your starter is, injuries happen and you have to have the best possible next man up.

by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:54am

would think Kaepernick playing stule wise would eb good fit in candaina football league. Canada hasn't
come calling it aPPEARS

by xydux :: Sun, 10/15/2017 - 8:06pm

I could see it not being collusion because:

Kaepernick isn't really that good a quarterback any more. His stats look good–but I've had people pull jujitsu on me using selective Tim Tebow stats that happen to ignore his abysmal completion percentage and make him look good. (Not saying Kaepernick is Tebow level bad, just saying that stats can obscure.) However, if you've seen more of Tebow than the highlights, it's obvious that Tebow's not that good. Same goes for Kaepernick: he's a marginal starter in this league, but probably a quality backup. However, Kaepernick is ALSO a huge media target and a huge distraction, which makes him a problem. Put succinctly, Kaepernick isn't a good enough player to justify the external costs of having EVERYBODY ride the team's behind about "what did/didn't Kaepernick do" "has Kaepernick got any plans to protest" "Hey what about Kaepernick". In other words, Kaepernick is not a good enough player to justify what a massive distraction he is.

I could see it being collusion because:

It's not hard to imagine that somebody went around to the owners–maybe not Goodell, maybe one of the owners, maybe a "friend" of the owners, whoever–and said "hey, you really shouldn't sign Kaepernick. He's not going to make a huge difference to your win percentage, but he could seriously hurt your–our–bottom line. Keep him out for a couple of years and this'll all die down."

by Bryan Knowles :: Sun, 10/15/2017 - 8:07pm

Whether it's collusion or not, it seems like it would be something that would be immensely difficult to prove without a smoking gun of some description.

I am not a lawyer, however.

by BJR :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 4:28am

I'd be astonished if any memo, a phone call, or anything of that description that could incriminate the NFL was sent out. Maybe a nudge and a wink between owners here and there. But yeah, mostly teams just each individually deciding that 'this guy might provide a modest improvement to our QB situation, but is not worth the media circus, and potential polarisation of fans that would follow'

by jtr :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 8:31am

Totally agree. Don't see how he can win this unless he produces a smoking gun document that the NFL is probably too smart to have produced. Although, I can't say I would be entirely surprised if one owner or another (*cough* Jerry *cough*) sent some tough-guy thing around about how teams better avoid Kaep if they know what's good for him.

Barring a document like that coming up, all that each team needs to do is have its GM rattle off some scout language about how he's a bad scheme fit, which could obviously never be disproved in court.

by Pat :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 3:03pm

You don't even have to go there - Kaepernick's provided plenty of evidence to GMs that he's not totally committed to football (hence Lynch's commentary). Moreover, Kaepernick, especially near the end of his career, has shown plenty of evidence of not being willing to get on the same page as the coaches.

It's important to remember that of Kaepernick's last two coaches (Tomsula and Chip Kelly), he didn't have a good relationship with Tomsula, and he did have a good relationship with Chip Kelly. Except I think Kelly's reputation in the NFL is pretty much trash, whereas Tomsula's a pretty well respected defensive line coach.

Kelly's given Kaepernick strong recommendations publicly. I haven't seen Tomsula say anything. That might be telling.

by Pat :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 9:16am

Except backup QBs don't usually have jobs because of how they'd perform if the starting QB gets injured. Teams don't plan it like that. They have jobs because of how well they understand the offense and how much they can be a team player, especially with the coach - because a backup QB's *main* job is to help out with film review/practice/scouting.

Which is why teams sometimes bring in a *new* starter after the starting QB's been injured.

Is anyone *really* shocked that teams don't consider Kaepernick a backup QB-type?

by RickD :: Sun, 10/15/2017 - 8:09pm

Unless Kaep has evidence in the form of leaked memos or a whistleblower, I don't see how he can win. But of course, discovery can be a bitch.

But the real point of a lawsuit like this is to embarrass the NFL.

by Craigo :: Sun, 10/15/2017 - 11:54pm

Obvious fishing expeditions like this rarely make it to discovery. The actual grievance contains literally zero evidence of collusion; it reads more like a press release that a competently drafted complaint.

by drillz :: Sun, 10/15/2017 - 10:30pm

amazing when a qb's tenth start playing professional football is in the biggest game in the sport, and then go to not even having an oppornunity to try out for another team in the league. all because he spoke out against police misconduct , abuse, and brutality along with no one being held accountable for the murder of unarmed american citizens. so many issues are spoken about , why not this? Kaepernisk's stats and physical attributes are on par with many in the league.why does he at least have an oppornunity to try out? I believe the mara's made a statement to answer that rhetoric question. Kaepernick speaks out against injustice and there is so much viseral devoid of facts towards him. as american citizen he should have to exercise his first amendment rights.

by ChrisS :: Sun, 10/15/2017 - 10:55pm

Good Luck Colin, you will need it as this seems hard to prove.

by Pen :: Sun, 10/15/2017 - 10:59pm

Doesn't seem hard to prove whatsoever. I'm pretty sure his lawyers advised him before filing. I'm guessing it's going to be a slam dunk.

by dryheat :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 8:42am

You're guessing wrong. Collusion is extremely hard to prove. And I don't believe there's any sort of memo or e-mail instructing 32 teams--or even a few--not to sign Kaepernick. Teams don't want a media circus, they don't want fans boycotting, and they certainly don't want those things over a backup quarterback. And teams are smart enough to realize that on their own.

I'm also curious about the grievance itself. Typically in filing a grievance, the filer has to state what he wants out of the process to remedy the situation. Is Kaepernick going to ask the NFL to put him on a specific team's roster?

by Pen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:07am

Yes,collusion is extremely hard to prove. And lawyers tend to not like to lose, especially in very public cases like this one. Which is why I'm guessing right. His lawyers advised him to file this suit. That means they feel they have a slam dunk. And you don't feel you have a chance of winning a collusion case unless you have an extremely good case. You don't TAKE collusion cases unless you have an extremely good case.

by dryheat :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:36pm

Battles, wars, etc.

I don't think Kaeperick and his attorneys expect to win this. I think it's part of a larger strategy.

Remember the baseball collusion case back in the 80s...I believe Andre Dawson was the biggest name? There was actually notes written on notepads in multiple team's offices that has the list of free agents, and the amount of money the signing team should offer them.

THAT's the kind of evidence that they're going to have to obtain to prove collusion. I just cannot imagine that there exists a memo from the NFL urging teams not to sign Kaepernick.

by LyleNM :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:46pm

Rickey Henderson.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:55pm

It wouldn't be the dumbest thing I'd ever seen a very successful business do, but it would be close, so I too would be very surprised if any hard evidence of collusion exists.

by sbond101 :: Tue, 10/17/2017 - 7:03pm

I also found it impossible to believe that executives at major banks/brokerages would write emails to each other about marketing mbs's to clients that included their knowledge of the poor quality of the assets; but the SEC turned them up at many firms as the basis for what totaled as several billion in fines after the financial crisis. I don't think Kaep has a case, I think this is purely a publicity effort as part of a project for him to earn a post-football living as an activist (I also think there are many non-collusive reasons he's not in football, being a bad and declining QB being the most important). But powerful men are often careless in the communications; it's possible he has some ammunition even if a conspiracy isn't what's keeping him out of football.

by jtr :: Wed, 10/18/2017 - 10:28am

While Goodell and the other league stiffs are probably too smart to leave a paper trail, there are 32 owners who could have written something incriminating. Does anyone think it's impossible that Jerry Jones could have had too much Johnny Blue one night and sent an expletive-filled rant about Kaepernick to at least one other owner? Not saying it necessarily happened, but it's certainly plausible that there are incriminating texts or emails out there.

by The Ninjalectual :: Thu, 10/19/2017 - 8:02pm

Typically in filing a grievance, the filer has to state what he wants out of the process to remedy the situation. Is Kaepernick going to ask the NFL to put him on a specific team's roster?

I heard NPR report about this: he gets his expected salary times three, so in the ballpark of $30M. Enough to make him the highest paid QB this year.

by erniecohen :: Fri, 10/20/2017 - 12:54pm

I'm pretty sure QBs hired as backup QBs don't make $10M. I don't think anyone was looking to pay him $10M for this season before the protests.

by morganja :: Sun, 10/15/2017 - 11:03pm

This problem began when certain chicken-hawk owners decided to take money from the government to promote a political agenda. It was a morally corrupt and stupid decision. The NFL can either appeal to all fans. Or it can choose to push a political agenda. They can't do both.
These owners, Jerry Jones, Robert Kraft, etc, have now placed the NFL in an impossible situation. It's too late to back out of their extremely poor business decision.
They can't pull the NFL out of politics now without alienating the right-wing nuts.
They can't continue with what they are doing without alienating the players and the fan base to the left of Jeff Beck.
It is such a mindbogglingly stupid mistake they made, and completely unnecessary. They like to preen around claiming to be such great businessmen, based mostly on how much they inherited, yet here we are, the NFL at the height of it's popularity, and they are managing to destroy it through sheer hubris and incompetence.

by dryheat :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 8:45am

1. What does the Hall-of-Fame guitarist have to do with any of this?
2. I don't believe Kraft nor Jones inherited their wealth.
3. I have no earthly idea what you're talking about with your "morally corrupt and stupid decision" rant.

by PatsFan :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 8:59am

For decades and decades players were in the locker room during the anthem.

Then in 2009 the NFL struck a deal whereby the Dept of Defense paid the NFL to (among other things) require players to be on the field during the anthem.

I assume that (and other elements of the pathetic "paid patriotism" stuff outlined in the McCain report) is what morganja refers to.

Just about every patriotic thing you've seen on an NFL football field since 2009 has been paid for by the DOD and was not teams being patriotic out of sincere feelings.

by dryheat :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:41pm

No, I get that. I don't make the leap from there to "morally bankrupt and stupid". They sold advertising/sponsorship to the US Military. They sell advertising to lots of people.

I would love it if we would see an intro from commercial with a voice-over stating, this presentation brought to you in part by the United States army. The official army of the National Football League.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:58pm

I don't a timeline of this, but the Vikings were on the sidelines in the '70s and '80s. I remember because Bud Grant put Jim Marshall in charge of getting the players lined up in a uniform fashion.

by ChrisS :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 4:11pm

According to Snopes the change in 2009 only applied to prime time games. "NFL players were not required to be on the sidelines during the playing of the U.S. national anthem for primetime games prior to 2009." http://www.snopes.com/nfl-sideline-anthem/

by morganja :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:16am

2. They both inherited huge fortunes.
3. See PatsFan's excellent explanation below.

by PatsFan :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 3:35pm

I'm pretty sure most of Kraft's money came from his wife's side of the family, not his own.

by Pen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:10am

No, you probably don't have any idea. That's part of the problem.

by Pen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:09am

+1 to Morganja

by Hextall_27 :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:53am

He is the worst self promoter in the history of American sports.
Kaepernick has a likability score somewhere between Herpes and North Korea.

You don't get to spout hatred on social media and wear pig socks and associate with BLM while cops get assassinated at their rallies and think the NFL is going to want to you representing their brand.

The 3 teams that could have legitimately wanted him were in Florida (sorry, he actually loves Castro), or Baltimore (He endorses his puppet master calling Biscotti a racist) He also attacked every NFL owner who donated to the Republican party presidential campaign

He chimes in with ignorant hate like the 3rd verse of the Anthem without context (the British were paying slaves to fight against the Americans like they were paying Hessians (read it again)) What about his 'Hey kids, Don't vote!' example? The best may have been "The Declaration of Independence is a slave document!"

Why is this so obvious with The Dixie Chicks, Marge Schott, and Kathy Griffin but so hard to grasp for Kaepernick?

"Leadership is overrated" got Jeff George an early exit. Why can't stealing your teammates girlfriend get you banned from a leadership role in which you are 4-20 in your last 24?

Greg Hardy is probably in the top 30 best DEs on the planet but he is also a jerk.

by Pen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:12am

How do you "pay" slaves?

by drobviousso :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:34am

I mean, if this is a serious question, lots of slavery involved payment to slaves. Ancient Greece had a pretty complex set of laws defining what an owner had to pay a slave. Even under chattel slavery in the US south, some slaves were paid wages. Fredrick Douglass describes it a bit in his autobiography.

by andrew :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 8:45am

If some team, say with an injured quarterback or something... decided that they would now want to sign him, does this lawsuit prevent that? Or would he jeopardize the lawsuit if he signed?

by rj1 :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 9:33am

Lawsuit would be dropped, he'd have no case.

I'm sure that's the end goal in this is to be painful enough thorn in the side that someone gives him a job. Right now he's in or near his athletic prime and is making zero, and football careers have a shelf life.

by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 5:37pm

Um, no.

There are 32 teams. He doesn't have to prove all teams were colluding, just 2. If he has documents where, say Dallas, told Baltimore : "Don't hire this guy - we don't like his politics" - that's collusion.

It doesn't matter if some other team is willing to hire him - any collusion hurts his market, and thus damages are possible.

by andrew :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 6:15pm

Wait, wait, I'm sure NFL people talk all the time, people worked for or with other people and so on.

If GM A talks to GM B, and gm B says something about player C who had played for him, avising gm A to not sign the player... say he says something like "He doesn't grasp X offensive scheme" when they are running that very scheme...

Is that collusion?

by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Tue, 10/17/2017 - 12:40pm

If two teams agree not to hire a player, that's collusion. They're really not supposed to discuss free agent players with each other, and one GM telling another GM "you shouldn't hire this guy because " is absolutely collusion.

From CBA:

Section 1. Prohibited Conduct:
(a) No Club, its employees or agents shall enter into any agreement, express
or implied, with the NFL or any other Club, its employees or agents to restrict or limit
individual Club decision-making as follows:
(i) whether to negotiate or not to negotiate with any player;
(ii) whether to submit or not to submit an Offer Sheet to any Restricted Free
(iii) whether to offer or not to offer a Player Contract to any player;
(iv) whether to exercise or not to exercise a Right of First Refusal; or
(v) concerning the terms or conditions of employment offered to any player
for inclusion, or included, in a Player Contract.

If they're aiding each other, at a player's expense, they're colluding.

by rj1 :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 9:31am

"Whether it's collusion or not, it seems like it would be something that would be immensely difficult to prove without a smoking gun of some description."

I agree with this.

Barry Bonds couldn't get a job after he broke the HR record in the majors just because they didn't want him to get any larger of a lead over the next guy that could break it. How could you prove that though?

There's also the money component of it which we are not privy to. I'm sure the Browns to throw out a random team may sign him to whatever minimum salary he's due under league rules. If Kaepernick said no at any point to any offer, that's not collusion. However, the only people that know that are Kaepernick, his agent, and whoever they dealt with in a team GM's front office.

by Pen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:15am

Please apply basic logic. His lawyers would have asked him those basic questions right away. What, then, can you infer from the fact he filed a lawsuit? Anyone who gave him an offer would certainly be brought on the stand to testify.

by Alternator :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:59am

I can infer the fact that Kaepernick values his activism highly enough to file the lawsuit, since it's extremely high profile and newsworthy, regardless of the chances of success.

by rj1 :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:58pm

"What, then, can you infer from the fact he filed a lawsuit?"

His lawyers like money?

Seriously, he wants a job as a quarterback in the NFL, the NFL wants the anthem controversy to go away for business reasons, so he filed the lawsuit as a way to provide leverage to get a contract in the league, otherwise the anthem controversy will continue on long after the NFL hopes it has disappeared.

by billsfan :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:27am

They're reporting that success of this suit would invalidate the current collective bargaining agreement.

In that case, I'm all for it. Let's have some chaos.

by drobviousso :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:29am

Two serious questions then one flippant one:

1) Does anyone know if he has to prove actual collusion, or would constructive collusion be enough?

2) Does he get any kind of discovery?

3) Does he get to argue the only hiring criteria is his on-the-field (but only after the game starts) qualifications because he's an athlete? Or does his contract specify that job is a performer, and his behavior at his employees stadium wearing his employers uniform while being filed for his employers television deal / being watched by people who payed his employers for tickets might possibly be part of his job as well? Of while giving his contractually-required press answers...

by Bryan Knowles :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 2:03pm

There's a good primer over at Sports Illustrated


Here's the TL,DR version:

*Kaepernick needs to provide a "clear preponderance of evidence" that at least two parties subject to the CBA -- either individual teams or the league office itself -- discussed not signing him. Not just criticizing him (which I'm sure exists), but specifically about something that causes him economic harm.

*Evidence must have occurred in the last 90 days, as that's the length of time Kaepernick had to file a grievance

*As this is an arbitration, and not a trial, the degree of pretrial discovery is severely limited. No subpoenas, no warrants, no one compelled to testify.

*The arbitrator will be neutral, as opposed to the NFL-chosen arbitrator you get during disciplinary hearings.

*Signing with a team today (say, the Packers) would NOT necessarily kill his grievance. If it's just two teams conspiring (say, the Titans and Jaguars, both of whom specifically avoided signing Kaepernick), that would still be collusion, even if the Packers were not party to it.

*His on-field qualifications are meaningless in this particular context. The fact that he is better than certain other employed quarterbacks does not factor into collusion. Teams have the right to factor in off-field distractions as part of their signing criteria.

by drobviousso :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 2:30pm

TYVM Bryan. This sounds like it will be a difficult case to prove if he does not have something in his possession already.

by Bryan Knowles :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 2:33pm

That's my understanding; the only way for this to really go his way is if he has a previously unknown piece of evidence.

Now, it's possible, especially with the 90-day window, that he has NEW information. Like, during the major anthem kerfuffle, there might have been some messages sent back and forth blaming Kaepernick for all starting all the negative press coverage, and that might refer to collusion, and that information has made it's way to Kaepernick in some way. That's pretty much the only way I could see this going his way.

I tend to agree with other posters that this is designed to create a hassle for the NFL and an out-of-arbitration settlement of some kind. But I am not a lawyer, so your guess is as good as mine.

by MarkV :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 3:28pm

Assuming that Jason at overthecap.com was correct on this, IF his goal is to invalidate the CBA (as has been reported), he faces two further and much higher standards. One would need to show evidence against multiple players.

If he is just using his own experinece as it stands, his filing would not endanger the collective bargain agreement, because for that to be true, the NFLPA has to file the collusion claim. If it is collusion, he also has to prove that at least 14 teams engaged in it.

by drobviousso :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 4:43pm

If this was a Netflix drama, the smoking gun would be a group chat with Goodell sending out marching orders to a bunch of owners, and a bunch of them agreeing to blackball the loudest protesters. This is leaked, of course, by an unknown disgruntled owner.

The last episode would focus on the Is it Jerry / Is it Kraft angle while the arbitration takes place in a Godfather-Baptism-Murder type scene. And then at the end, right as the CBA gets decertified, its revealed to be one of the old guards like a Mora or Rooney or Hunt or McCaskey. They are so disgusted with the backstabbing and lies they'd rather blow it all up than live with it the way it is any longer.

At least, that's how I'd wrap it up, if I was writing this show. I think I need to rewatch some Sons of Anarchy.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 5:06pm

Mark Davis is definitely Fredo, and ya'gotta have Shahid Khan on waterskis, trying to jump over a shark.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:04pm

Deeply shocked that a pair of users whose names I don't recognize at all are the loudest, most vitriolic anti-Kaepernick/pro-ANTHEM4EVER posters in this thread. All they really need are some Twitter egg profile pics and Russian IP addresses to complete the trifecta.

by The Ninjalectual :: Thu, 10/19/2017 - 8:12pm

Ah ha! Something had been bothering me about this whole thing, but you got it I think

by MarkV :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 3:31pm

I can't help but think that this filing will be held against Kaepernick by teams. It seems designed to distract the league and keep his name in the conversation without any substance. Which further bolsters why teams wouldn't want to sign him.

*I will be completely wrong if the arbitrator finds enough credibility to this for his case to go forward. But that would be incredibly stupid of the NFL.*

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 3:54pm

Absent hard evidence of collusion, this move will end his career definitively. In a corollary to, "If you strike at the King, you need to kill him", there is, "If you file a collusion grievance against the people you wish to work for, you better prove collusion took place".

by MarkV :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 4:14pm

Which is pretty sad for me.

I rather enjoyed watching him play. He was one of the players that was far more fun than good, and he wasn't a bad player. Sort of how Matt Ryan and Phillip Rivers are both better than they are fun.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 4:40pm

Yeah, I was hoping somebody would sign him.

by commissionerleaf :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 7:22pm

One comment I made during the Chip Kelly era was that Blaine Gabbert was a bad NFL quarterback, but Colin Kaepernick was not an NFL quarterback at all. Kaepernick does not do any of the things that NFL quarterbacks are asked to do, like read defenses or make decisions.

He has a good arm, and he is very fast (in a straight line) (VERY fast).

But while a team might want to develop a young Colin Kaepernick into an NFL quarterback, it is hard to imagine an NFL team wanting him as a backup. His only real NFL success came with an all-world offensive line and a coach that was preternaturally committed to hiding his deficiencies and working with him (and they still led the league in delay of game penalties).

Could Colin Kaepernick successfully QB an NFL team to the playoffs? Of course!

Are there very good football reasons why he is out of a job? Of course! There is plentiful tape of Colin Kaepernick as a fourth-or-so year starter looking like he's dropped acid on the field and is seeing anything but what is in front of him at the line of scrimmage.

And yeah, if you stood up Colin Kaepernick, gentleman activist, next to an identical player who was, you know, not going to bring a media circus along with his clipboard, it's obvious which is more desirable.

by Ryan D. :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 9:08pm

I'm sure the 49ers were going to cut him anyway, but I find it funny that all of this started when Colin exercised his option to void his contract. He really should have attempted to renegotiate or force the team to cut him, shouldn't he?

by Alexander :: Tue, 10/17/2017 - 2:14am

Its actually very simple why Kaep is not on any teams. There are 2 kinds of Quarterbacks in the NFL: Starters & Backups. There are a few subcategories of each.

Starters: Franchise QB, Rookie Contract QB, and Veteran QB that the fans hate + want to move on from.

Colin if signed, would be the third one, but teams only have a "third type" QB because they are too afraid to move on to a rookie (i.e. Cutler, Flacco, Bradford). The only reason GMs sign these guys is out of fear for their jobs, Kaepernick does not allay anyone's fear about their jobs, in fact he probably intensifies it.

Backups: Rookie Salary Backup, Quite Veteran Backup.

Colin is neither.

In other words, the QBs people compare Colin to, are QBs that GMs should be moving on from, but are not because of IRRATIONAL FEAR. You are saying, "because GMs are irrational in this one way, they should also be irrational and hire this other guy who doesn't fix their team, or allay their fears!!!!!"

by Wade8813 :: Thu, 10/19/2017 - 10:22pm

That is an interesting point, and one I hadn't thought of.

The thing is, "Veteran QB that fans hate and want to move on from" is a very broad category. It includes guys who are almost Decent Starters, and it includes guys who should never be starters.

I think a strong case can be made that Kap is almost a Decent Starter. If you look at Newton, Tannehill, and Manning's career numbers he stacks up fairly well against them (depending on what stats you look at). And that's despite the fact that the Niners' OL and WRs imploded around him.

by morganja :: Tue, 10/17/2017 - 12:13pm

I find it interesting that it is Kaepernick's intense devotion to his Christian faith that has moved him to protest injustice. The backlash seems to be fueled, at least on one level, by a religious divide.

by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Tue, 10/17/2017 - 12:56pm

"The backlash seems to be fueled, at least on one level, by a religious divide."

How so? Pretty much everyone I've seen who has a problem with him protesting also identifies as Christian.

by dryheat :: Tue, 10/17/2017 - 1:18pm

Agreed. You could make a case for divides upon several lines, but not religious. Who are the "Respect the anthem, military, and flag" crowd if not conservative Christians?

by morganja :: Tue, 10/17/2017 - 3:13pm

This isn't meant to be religious, just to explain an unexplored aspect of the divide over the protests.

There is no doubt they identify themselves as Christian. That is exactly why they feel so threatened by the players 'not respecting the flag'. It exposes their 'Christianity' for what it really is.

I know many very religious people, as I am myself. By this I mean people who take their religion very seriously; studying it, practicing it, devoting their lives to it. Many of them are what would be considered extremely right-wing in politics. Yet almost all agree that enforced 'standing' for the flag or anthem, or any other form of outward patriotism, is idolatry.

The Bible is extremely clear on this subject.

It is an unfortunate fact that many people who self-identify as 'Christian', are in fact assigning Divine authority to their cultural or political opinions. Idolatry.

The protests, happening during the what they consider a religious observance of their idols, force them to either consider why they are assigning divine power to a secular power, or to strike back blindly at something that is threatening their basic assumptions.

Human nature unfortunately favors the latter.

by theslothook :: Tue, 10/17/2017 - 3:34pm

Since I got burned by the "no politics rule" last time, I'll try to be brief with my comment. There is another group of people who dislike what Kaep is doing and not because of religion. They view his protests as a misguided slight on the values of America.

Whether you agree or disagree with Kaep's protests, they feel his actions are unnecessarily blaming the US.

For me personally, I believe in human freedom and so Kaep should do as he pleases. I do think, given his ultimate goal, that his protests are distracting from the real issues. For that matter, I think most of BLV is distracting from the real issues.

by morganja :: Tue, 10/17/2017 - 4:05pm

I'm not sure I follow. You might very well be right about how they feel, and I'm sure you are about many, but wouldn't it be illogical to say that Kaep protesting possible racist police brutality by the governments of the US is blaming the US unnecessarily? Is it not the US government's role to enforce civil rights? How do they explain that? Who should he be protesting then?

by theslothook :: Tue, 10/17/2017 - 4:31pm

I think its the view that - the flag is a symbol of the good and righteous of the country. Ok, so life is never that way, but its one of the few things that people shouldn't sneer at(I'm speaking for this group, not my personal view). This is why you get players in the NFL who remark - "If you don't like it, get out of the country." Again, not my personal view, just an idea of why the anthem protests are upsetting to more than just the religious conservatives. After all, one of America's founding principles is divorcing the flag from religion.

As to police brutality - its a very deep and nuanced issue that isn't as simple as White police + black civilians = systemic and unnecessary violence motivated by racial tensions. If theres one thing that bothers me, its when political rhetoric overtakes calm rational thinking about complex issues. You see this with everything these days - global warming, immigration, healthcare, taxes, education etc etc.

In addition - Kaep muddied the waters and substantially weakened his position when he started needlessly politicizing the issue with his girlfriends tweets, the cops as pigs socks, and the Castro Shirt. That pissed off a whole lot more people than just the anthem defenders. It probably a big factor for why Cutler is employed by the Dolphins and Kaep is not.

And...since I can't help myself, I actually think Black Lives Matter - despite all the best intentions- is actually doing more harm than good. By portraying the issue as largely the result of systemic and institutional racism; it gives a sense that the plight of the african american is a case of pure victimhood. In reality, economists and sociologists have spent generations looking hard at growth dynamics, poverty traps, and inner city crime. Once you do more than cursory examination of the facts, you come away realizing the whole thing is simply more complicated. Painting it as a simple them vs us is the ultimate red herring.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 10/18/2017 - 10:26am

Deleted,not doing politics here.

by ChrisS :: Wed, 10/18/2017 - 10:28am

Many people have personality types that involve very strong ties to the groups they belong to. Kap's behavior has been (in my opinion unfairly) portrayed as disrespecting the flag and these people's strong ties, to the US and it's symbols, result in them seeing this behavior as a direct attack on them. Any denial by a non-member that it is not an attack on the flag actually works to reinforce the belief. Psychology shows the more a belief is attacked the more strongly it is defended, unless it is refuted by a person strongly identified with the group.

by morganja :: Tue, 10/17/2017 - 4:07pm

I'm going to assume that this thread is meant to separate this discussion from the rest of the threads, so perhaps we have a little more leeway here if we keep it polite and in the interest of trying to understand?

by nat :: Wed, 10/18/2017 - 11:48am

Here's one take on how collusion might be shown:


The article is a bit of a structural mess. The idea is that there is enough public chatter from team officials indicating that the POTUS influenced and in effect coordinated a collective (i.e. collusive) response to Kaep's attempts to get a QB job to at least open the door to a suit.

I doubt this kind of stuff would be enough to win the case by itself. It's more likely that it would be enough to let the case proceed to discovery. Discovery would either turn up more evidence of collusion or it wouldn't; or perhaps the league and owners would defy the discovery process, after which an arbitrator would do... what, exactly?

The stuff about how good a QB (or not) Kaep is doesn't really address proving collusion, but the amount of the damage potentially done and the size of the remedy needed.