Carolina Panthers: Is Colin Kaepernick an option worth considering?
Should the Carolina Panthers explore the possibility of signing free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick?
There have been new calls for an NFL team to give Colin Kaepernick a contract. This has been further heightened by the current situation across the country. The Carolina Panthers or another franchise are now in the spotlight once again in terms of presenting the quarterback with renewed hope of a return.
The Carolina Panthers might not necessarily need Kaepernick that much. But few would argue he would not represent an upgrade on their two current backup options.
P.J. Walker comes into the NFL with a big reputation after signing in the XFL. However, he has little NFL experience and it remains to be seen whether he can make a successful transition.
Their third option behind Teddy Bridgewater is Will Grier, who was drafted by the Panthers in 2019. Much was expected of the player as a development project. But the signal-caller appears a couple of years from being ready if his time under center last season is any indication.
Bridgewater was given a big-money deal by the Panthers this offseason. However, his injury problems over the years are well documented and the organization would be severely hampered if this turned out to be the case at any stage in 2020.
Joe Lockhart stated in no uncertain terms in a recent opinion article via CNN that “now is the moment” for an NFL team to pull the trigger on Kaepernick. The former NFL vice president for communications and government affairs designated the Minnesota Vikings as a potential destination. But claimed it would be up to the league to somehow find a way to get the player back involved.
"“The situation in Minnesota right now offers a unique opportunity to deal with the symbols of racial injustice. As a small, but important step, the owners of the Minnesota Vikings, Zygi and Mark Wilf, can send a strong message by offering Colin Kaepernick a contract to play with the Vikings. Bring him into camp, treat him like any of the other players given a chance to play the game they love. It will not solve the problem of blacks and police violence. But it will recognize the problem that Kaepernick powerfully raised, and perhaps show that, with courage, real progress can be made.”"
While giving Kaepernick a route back into the NFL after more than three years would be welcome. Any offer now would have an element of pity surrounding it. And signing the quarterback on the back of what has been transpiring across the country is something that the player might not even accept.
His public workout in front of NFL scouts and media last year was slammed as a “publicity stunt” by safety Eric Reid during his time with the Panthers. Offering Kaepernick a deal at the present time would have the same sort of feel to it. And it would also put huge pressure on a franchise in terms of how he should or could be used.
Should the Carolina Panthers pursue Colin Kaepernick?
The Carolina Panthers roster appears pretty set at the quarterback spot. The team made the difficult move to part ways with Cam Newton this offseason. And the three players currently on the roster are expected to lead them going forward.
While the proposition of bringing in Kaepernick is undoubtedly an intriguing one. It has the potential to put a significant amount of pressure on Bridgewater’s shoulders as he finally looks to make a prominent starting position his own once again.
There is also the Panthers’ salary cap predicament to consider. They freed up some funds by placing linebacker Luke Kuechly on the reserve/retired list. But they might be looking to strengthen other areas and go with what the franchise currently has at the position.
This remains a highly debatable topic and one that is not going to go away anytime soon. Kaepernick has emerged as a beacon of hope to large sections of the country. And his willingness to take a stand in the face of adversity has cost him some of the best years of his career.
Softening the blow by giving him a deal with the Panthers or another franchise would not be seen as a football decision in the present environment. The NFL and Kaepernick might have already passed the point of no return. And giving him a route back into the league could be portrayed as an empty gesture with very little substance.