Marlene Lenthang and Alex Raskin, Daily Mail, February 16, 2019
Colin Kaepernick may have pocketed up to $80million in his breakthrough settlement with the NFL.
The controversial free agent quarterback finally settled his collusion grievance against the NFL on Friday, ending the nearly two-year-long case.
The terms and details of the settlement were not disclosed but NFL columnist Mike Freeman speculates the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback may have received between $60million to $80million in the agreement.
‘Number NFL team officials are speculating to me is the NFL paid Kaepernick in the $60 to $80 million range,’ Freeman of the Bleacher Report tweeted Friday afternoon.
Kaepernick filed his grievance against the NFL back in October 2017, accusing the league and its 32 teams of blacklisting him and preventing him from being signed in retaliation to his kneeling national anthem protest against police brutality.
His former San Francisco 49ers teammate Eric Reid had filed a grievance against the league that was also settled on Friday.
NFL experts previously speculated that Kaepernick would only withdraw his grievance if he was offered a lucrative settlement.
‘Sources previously said Kaepernick would only withdraw if a lucrative settlement was secured,’ Charles Robinson of Yahoo reported.
Then earlier this week Kaepernick’s attorney Mark Geragos said in a podcast interview with comedian Adam Carolla that he believed Kaepernick’s case would go to trial, then a days later the settlement was announced.
‘For the past several months, counsel for Mr. Kaepernick and Mr. Reid have engaged in an ongoing dialogue with representatives of the NFL,’ read a joint statement published by the league and the players’ attorney, Mark Geragos. ‘As a result of those discussions, the parties have decided to resolve the pending grievances. The resolution of this matter is subject to a confidentiality agreement so there will be no further comment by any party.’
Kaepernick’s original filing claimed the owners ‘have colluded to deprive Mr. Kaepernick of employment rights in retaliation for Mr. Kaepernick’s leadership and advocacy for equality and social justice and his bringing awareness to peculiar institutions still undermining racial equality in the United States.’
NFL commissioner Roger Goodel, several owners, and at least two NFL executives were deposed and asked to turn over all relevant phone records and emails in relation to Kaepernick’s case against the NFL.
The NFL’s collective-bargaining agreement makes it clear that unemployment does not necessarily prove collusion, so Kaepernick and Reid needed to show that a ‘club, its employees or agents [had] entered into an agreement’ to restrict or limit any contract offers to the players, according to ESPN.
The protests began with Kaepernick during the 2016 NFL preseason, when he was still a member of the 49ers.
Other players such as Reid followed with similar demonstrations, which caused a national controversy that ultimately became a major talking point for President Donald Trump beginning in September of 2017.
The protests continued into 2018, but fewer players protested this season than in 2016 or 2017.
Kaepernick has gone unsigned since opting out of his contract in March of 2017. In October of that year he filed the grievance against the league.
Reid, who was the first player to protest alongside Kaepernick, filed his own grievance after going unsigned last offseason. Eventually the Pro Bowl defensive back was signed by Carolina four weeks into the season because the Panthers’ secondary was depleted by injuries.
Earlier this week, Reid signed a three-year contract extension worth more than $22 million, which he said was proof that owners were colluding against him last year, when he was ‘still the same player.’
Reid said Monday he believes he got ‘fair market value’ after making just $1.69 million last season from the Panthers.
‘If anything, it proves my point from last year,’ Reid said. ‘I didn’t sign until the (fourth) week and did for almost the league minimum. And this year I signed a more substantial contract. And nothing has changed. I’m still the same player.’
Reid said re-signing with the Panthers was more about the contract than any sense of loyalty to the team that gave him a second chance in the NFL.
‘I don’t see a whole lot of loyalty in this business,’ Reid said. ‘They can cut me at any time. The contract is what made my decision.’
According to Yahoo Sports, the final hearing in the players’ joint collusion case against the NFL was scheduled for later this month. Yahoo added that sources previously said Kaepernick would only withdraw his grievance for a lucrative settlement.
The NFLPA released a statement supporting the resolution.
‘Today, we were informed by the NFL of the settlement of the Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid collusion cases,’ the statement reads. ‘We are not privy to the details of the settlement, but support the decision by the players and their counsel. We continuously supported Colin and Eric from the start of their protests, participated with their lawyers throughout their legal proceedings and were prepared to participate in the upcoming trial in pursuit of both truth and justice for what we believe the NFL and its clubs did to them.
‘We are glad that Eric has earned a job and a new contract, and we continue to hope that Colin gets his opportunity as well.’
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell spoke to reporters ahead of Super Bowl LIII and suggested that teams made their respective decisions about Kaepernick individually.
‘If a team decides Colin Kaepernick or any other player can help their team win … that’s what they’ll do,’ Goodell said.
‘Our clubs are the ones that make decisions about players they want to have on their roster,’ Goodell continued. ‘They make it individually. They all want to win. They are going to do whatever they need to do to win. That’s our focus. It will continue to be our focus.’
The NFL did not institute any rule requiring players to stand for the anthem during the 2017 season, which resulted in further criticism from President Donald Trump.
In May, the NFL and Goodell changed course and announced a new policy: Players would no longer be required to be on the field during the anthem – a rule that began in 2009 – but anyone on the field of play would be required to stand. Teams could be fined for any personnel not standing, and they would have the right to fine players individually.
However, the league changed course in July and decided to negotiate a resolution with the players association. No final decision has been announced.
In a recent poll conducted by The Athletic, 81 of 85 players said they believe the Kaepernick should be in the NFL. Two players voted ‘no’ and another two replied ‘no comment.’
The question of whether or not he is good enough to play in the NFL has remained a topic of conversation around the league for the last two seasons.
While three players replied that Kaepernick should be a backup, many others believed he could start over such first-string quarterbacks as Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles (20 percent) and Oakland Raiders signal caller Nathan Peterman (18 percent).
Bortles finished the season with a 79.8 quarterback rating while Peterman’s 30.7 mark would have been the NFL’s worst if he had enough games to qualify for the league’s leader board.
‘S***, any team that carries three quarterbacks for sure, the third guy on that roster,’ an anonymous player told The Athletic, explain whom Kaepernick should replace. ‘And a majority of the teams with two quarterbacks, he should be the backup. And some places he should be the starter.’
In November, Pro Football Talk reported that Kaepernick still wants to play in the NFL and continues to work out 30 hours a week.
Not only did Kaepernick lead the 49ers to three consecutive NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl, but his career 88.9 quarterback rating is superior to the marks of several quarterbacks who started over the course of the 2018 season.
Over his six-year NFL career, Kaepernick completed 59.8 percent of his passes for 12,271 yards, 72 touchdowns and just 30 interceptions. He also ran for 2,300 yards and 13 touchdowns, gaining 6.1 yards per carry.
Previously both Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said they feel as though Kaepernick is good enough to be playing in the NFL, and Rogers went so far as to tell ESPN that he believes the former University of Nevada star remains a free agent because of the protests.