The Carolina Panthers had a need in their secondary, so they chose to sign former San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid. As most know, the signing means more than just an NFL team filling a need. Reid was one player who kneeled with quarterback Colin Kaepernick during the national anthem and was unable to find a job to this point.
But with the Panthers opting to make the move and add a player who didn’t receive consideration from other NFL franchises, could Kaepernick’s return to the NFL be next?
That may actually depend on how the reaction to Carolina’s decision on Reid plays out. In an interesting point from Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, the need at quarterback for many teams, paired with positive, or at least neutral reaction to Reid, could bode well for Kaepernick.
It’s a fair question, since it’s possible that Carolina’s decision to proceed — and the public reaction to it — could give a team that needs help at the quarterback position confidence that, if Kaepernick is signed, the fans won’t rush for the exits, the sponsors won’t abandon the team en masse, and the TV ratings won’t plummet.
To piggyback off that, NFL analyst Jim Trotter revealed that prior to signing with the Panthers, the 49ers had interest in bringing Reid back on a multi-year deal.
With this being the case, it could mean San Francisco is at least open to the idea of a Kaepernick reunion, should the staff feel they badly need a quarterback. But the 49ers aren’t the only team worth considering as a landing spot for Kaepernick.
The Case For Colin Kaepernick, Possible Destinations
The hot-button topic after 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a season-ending knee injury, was whether or not the team would consider Kaepernick. San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan said earlier this week there had been no discussion about potentially bringing the signal-caller back.
As Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area revealed, though, Shanahan did state the 49ers had discussed it last year and that Kaepernick wasn’t the right style of quarterback.
What stands out a bit there is that Shanahan admitted the team did discuss the idea of Kaepernick last season. With the topic at least being brought up previously, and the potential for C.J. Beathard to struggle while replacing Garoppolo, this has to remain a conversation.
The 49ers aren’t the only team who could use Kaepernick either, and not strictly as a starter. Jon Gruden decided to play musical chairs with his backup quarterback at the end of this offseason. The Oakland Raiders parted ways with both EJ Manuel and Connor Cook and proceeded to trade for former Cincinnati Bengals/Buffalo Bills quarterback AJ McCarron.
We know Gruden has no issue with signing players who have plenty of attention surrounding them for various reasons, so maybe Reid’s signing will be the push he and Mark Davis need.
Beyond the Bay Area teams, it’s simply going to depend on which teams feel they need an upgrade at quarterback behind their starter. Most other teams you’d consider have a rookie in place or at least a young player they want to keep in the mix. Time will tell, but we can’t rule out a Kaepernick return at some point.