Will the Carolina Panthers attend Saturday’s NFL workout with Colin Kaepernick?
The Carolina Panthers entered 2019 with quarterback on their minds. Despite having a former league MVP and first overall pick in Cam Newton, contracts and an increasing injury history led general manager Marty Hurney to begin preparations for the future.
No team looks forward to moving on from a franchise quarterback and the fact Newton is only 30 years old makes facing the issue even more controversial. The timing of his current contract expiration, following the 2020 season, and the fact Carolina could recoup $19 million in salary-cap space by either releasing Newton or trading him after this year is adding fuel to the fire for those ready to make a change.
This spring Hurney drafted Will Grier as a potential developmental backup for the future and Kyle Allen ultimately won the opportunity to start following another Newton injury. Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been out of football for three years after becoming a free agent and going unsigned. Electing to kneel during the national anthem in an effort to raise awareness and protest racial injustice during his final season led many to believe the NFL was purposefully keeping him off the field. Kaepernick and Panthers safety Eric Reid sued the league for collusion and settled their cases this past spring.
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The league is now inviting teams to join Kaepernick in Atlanta this Saturday for a workout – his first time in front of team officials since 2016. Given the current state of quarterbacking across the league, expectations are many teams will send scouts to the event and some have already confirmed their attendance.
As for the Panthers, coach Ron Rivera dodged Kaepernick questions and saddled Hurney as the responsible party because of his role as general manager. Reid spoke with owner David Tepper about Kaepernick following the placement of Newton on injured reserve but was told his team wasn’t in the market for a veteran quarterback.
While signing Kaepernick may have been more beneficial earlier in the season, an opportunity to witness first-hand if the former quarterback and second-round selection can still make an impact in the league shouldn’t be ignored. There’s no harm in saying the team will have a representative in Atlanta and given the uncertainty of Newton’s future, all available options should be considered.
While Kaepernick joining the Panthers remains unlikely, attendance at the workout would at least be a sign of due diligence from the franchise.