Colin Kaepernick will be working out in Atlanta Saturday, and an open invitation has been sent out to all 32 NFL teams to attend.
The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback has stayed in outstanding physical shape and has never lost the desire to play at the NFL level. His off-field social justice activities and outspoken promotion of that work has kept him out of the NFL since the end of the 2016 season.
Assuming he still has the same skill and athleticism we saw during his last NFL campaign, there are a handful of teams that should consider signing him.
The main reason the Eagles are on this list is that they had to lure veteran Josh McCown out of retirement earlier this summer. No offense to McCown, but if Philly has to turn to him this season, it’s probably a lost cause.
Carson Wentz is the undisputed starter for the Eagles. That wouldn’t change with Kaepernick arriving. He’d clearly be the backup. But if Wentz, who has a history of getting injured, were to be forced out of action, Kaepernick could inject some life into an offense that needs it right now.
Mitch Trubisky had a not-so-bad game Sunday. Yippee! The sad truth is that his bad games are the story, and not the outliers. Since he arrived in Chicago three seasons ago, this No. 2 overall pick has been brutally ineffective for a team that has a championship-caliber defense and a ton of offensive playmakers who can shred defenses if given the chance.
Signing Kaepernick would be a bold move, to be sure. The Bears would have to do it with the clear indication that he’s there to challenge Trubisky for the starting role. Will it happen? Probably not. Chicago has stubbornly stuck by Trubisky so far, and it appears to be set on riding or dying with this young guy. But the Bears absolutely should sign Kaepernick if he’s still the same guy we saw a few years back.
The Lions may not have Matthew Stafford on the field for a while. Head coach Matt Patricia said Monday that the fractures in Stafford’s back could keep him out more than a week, and it’s not even a given he’ll practice at all this week.
Jeff Driskel isn’t going to win many games if he has to start. The Lions just don’t have anyone behind Stafford who can lead an offense to victory. Signing Kaepernick would give them the luxury of resting Stafford as long as it takes for him to get fully healthy, while staying competitive in the meantime.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
When asked about Jameis Winston this week, head coach Bruce Arians wouldn’t say whether the former No. 1 overall pick figures into the team’s long-term plans. Winston is a turnover machine. He has been since college and continues to be a huge liability for the Bucs to this day.
Tampa Bay, at 3-6, is almost certainly out of the playoff picture and needs to figure out if Winston is going to be there next year. The franchise is likely already thinking about whether it needs to draft a new quarterback and start over from scratch. Or, the team could kick the tires on Kaepernick and perhaps have a long-term answer already in house
Cam Newton is done for the year, and almost certainly he’s done long term in Carolina. Second-year former undrafted free agent Kyle Allen has been great, and he could be the long-term replacement for Newton.
But it wouldn’t hurt to bring Kaepernick into the fold, either. He can make the kind of downfield throws Norv Turner loves to implement into his schemes. He can also do the same kinds of things that made Newton so dangerous as a dual-threat. It also helps that new owner David Tepper is such a liberal-minded guy, so this could be the perfect landing spot for Kaepernick.