Colin Kaepernick case brings tryout waivers into focus

Mike Florio

The Colin Kaepernick saga has inadvertently shed light on a subject that has previously been overlooked.

The waiver presented to, and rejected by, Kaepernick prompted reports and takes suggesting that Kaepernick should have signed the waiver because it was essentially the same as the waiver that would be signed by a free agent who reports to a team facility for a normal tryout, which has yet to happen in more than 32 months of Kaepernick’s time as a free agent. PFT obtained one team’s waiver, and it was obvious that a standard tryout waiver does not attempt to secure a broad release of any and all claims directly or indirectly to the workout, as Kaepernick’s was.

It also has become obvious that different teams use different waivers. Most recently, Howard Bryant of ESPN posted the waiver used by the Bears.

In attempting to obtain these waivers, another dynamic has become obvious: The players typically sign the waivers and proceed, without even informing their agents that they were asked to sign a document limiting their legal rights.

Multiple agents told PFT this week that they weren’t even aware of the practice of players signing tryout waivers. They are now, and it raises important questions regarding the language that could be snuck into the waivers — and whether an effort should be undertaken to standardize the waivers with preapproved language that all teams use.

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