The Carolina Panthers may have a quarterback problem on their hands.
Just hours after Cam Newton suffered a left foot injury that was later diagnosed as a mid-foot sprain, the injury appears to be somewhat serious. Serious enough to the point where Panthers general manager Marty Hurney isn’t even certain that the former NFL MVP will suit up in Week 1 against the Los Angeles Rams on Sep. 8.
However, the Panthers could have a replacement for Newton — according to safety Eric Reid. The veteran defensive back suggested that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick — who hasn’t played in the NFL since 2016 — start for Carolina in place of the injured Newton.
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported that Panthers general manager Marty Hurney was “cautiously optimistic” regarding Newton’s playing status for Week 1.
Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid Sued NFL for Collusion
If you’re wondering why Reid and Kaepernick sound synonymous, that would be because they were the two names behind the collusion case against the NFL, a lawsuit that centered around being blackballed after standing up for inequality and racial issues. The lawsuit was settled in February as the NFL paid Reid and Kaepernick roughly $10 million.
The reason this is brought up is because Reid appeared to have been blackballed when he spent the entire 2018 offseason as a free agent — a former Pro Bowler who was just 26 years old and in the prime of his career. However, new Panthers owner David Tepper signed Reid following the start of the 2018 season on a one-year deal. Tepper would eventually sign Reid to a three-year, $22 million contract extension in the offseason.
This is key because if the Panthers were willing to give Reid a chance, they would be open to the idea of giving Kaepernick a shot.
Colin Kaepernick Is Most Accomplished QB on Free Agent Market
Although it’s been three years since Kaepernick last suited up, the 31-year-old is probably the most proven quarterback on the free agent market. The former starting QB has started in a Super Bowl and spent five seasons as a starting quarterback for the Niners. That’s not to mention that he was actually productive in his last season for San Francisco, posting an efficient 16 touchdowns to just four interceptions for a 90.7 quarterback rating on a 2-14 squad.
Furthermore, the veteran quarterback has stayed in shape, recently posting a workout video earlier this month.
It is unclear at this point what Carolina’s interest is in not only adding Kaepernick — but adding another quarterback in general. Outside of Newton, they currently have three quarterbacks under contract with the second-year Kyle Allen slotted as the starting quarterback, rookie third-round pick Will Grier as the backup and the returning Taylor Heinicke as the fourth-string quarterback.
This really all depends on the severity of Newton’s injury. If he’s out for just Week 1, what would be the point in adding Kaepernick, only to waive him? There’s no way Kaepernick will be able to learn all of the nuances of the Panthers’ offensive system in just two weeks — especially when they have Allen and Heinicke, who have been in the system for the past two years.
While it’s unfortunate that Kaepernick can’t catch a break in the NFL, the fit isn’t there in Carolina.
The only way Kaepernick receives consideration for a gig in Carolina is if Newton is out for several weeks of the season — not just the first.
Follow D.J. Siddiqi on Twitter @DJSiddiqi