The NFL and quarterback Colin Kaepernick could have negotiated a resolution to his collusion grievance that would have ended forever his relationship with the league. Apparently, they did not.
Appearing on CNN, lawyer Mark Geragos clearly implied that the settlement agreement does not prevent Kaepernick from applying for or accepting employment with an NFL team moving forward.
“He absolutely wants to play,” Geragos said. “He wants to compete at the highest level. This is a competitive young man.”
Geragos emphasized that Kaepernick remains ready to go.
“I will tell you, he is the most fit vegan I have every seen in my life,” Geragos said. “To my somewhat trained eye, he looks like he’s ready to play.”
So will he play?
“I’m gonna make a bold prediction although I’ve been wrong once before on this, I’m gonna make a bold prediction that one of three teams will pick him up,” Geragos said.
For now, Geragos identified only one: The Panthers. (Last year, Geragos hinted that the Patriots and Raiders could pursue Kaepernick.)
“The natural would be if Cam Newton is out, the natural place to be is to play with Eric [Reid] in Carolina,” Geragos said.
Geragos otherwise would not comment on the resolution of the grievance.
“I can’t say anything at all except that it’s resolved,” Geragos said. “I can tell you that it was a long and kind of unconventional legal journey, in the sense that we brought it under the Collective Bargaining Agreement. It was not a lawsuit, a traditional lawsuit. So when some people have said, ‘I wish it had gone to court.’ It wasn’t in court, it was under the Collective Bargaining Agreement.”
Geragos also addressed the question of why Kaepernick took the league’s money.
“I’ve seen that on social media,” Geragos said, “but the difference between the criminal system where you’re fighting over someone’s liberty and the civil justice system, which is anything that not’s criminal, which is all you’re doing is fighting over money. . . . Our justice system is based on money.”
If the deal doesn’t include an agreement that Kaepernick will not accept future employment with an NFL team, he necessarily received less money than he would have gotten if the settlement included such a term. As it stands, Kaepernick will have his cake and the ability to pursue more of it, too.
PFT contacted the NFL to request confirmation that the settlement also Kaepernick to seek and accept employment in the league.
“We do not have further comment beyond yesterday’s joint statement,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said.
Bottom line? The relationship between Kaepernick and the NFL isn’t permanently over. Whether he ultimately plays for another team remains to be seen.