XFL’s plan to target NFL quarterbacks who don’t make the cut could help Kaepernick

Mike Florio
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

As Colin Kaepernick reminds everyone that he’s still interested in playing professional football, and given the permission granted by the Commander-in-Chief to employ him, will anyone hire Kaepernick?

Probably not, but there’s a looming dynamic that could make the NFL’s ongoing cold shoulder to Kaepernick more glaring during the 2019 season.

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Four weeks from today, the NFL’s 32 teams will trim all rosters from 90 to 53. As the waiver-wire dust settles, the XFL will try to persuade some of the available players to commit to the resurrected spring league — and to remove themselves from the mix of the never ending in-season roster churn that will happen in the NFL.

At quarterback, that will create a potential problem for the NFL. If teams keep two quarterbacks on the roster, an injury to the starter will create a need for a new backup. And if eight to 16 of the third-string quarterbacks who fail to make an active roster choose to accept jobs with the eight teams of the XFL, they won’t be available to the NFL.

That necessarily will bump Kaepernick’s name up the list of available free agents.

Of course, the quarterbacks who get in-season offers to join the bottom of a depth chart rarely get much more than the minimum salary based on their level of experience. Kaepernick may want more than that.

Then again, no one knows what Kaepernick would actually want because, for more than two years and counting, no one has offered him a contract worth any amount of money.

Given that Kaepernick has spent two full seasons and counting out of football, his path back to the game necessarily will include a willingness to say yes to whatever interest comes his way — and to get the word out now that he’s willing to fly anywhere and everywhere for a visit, a tryout, and if it comes to it a bargain-basement deal aimed at giving him a chance to remind everyone that, yes, he really is good enough.

Is it wrong that it got to this point? Absolutely. Is it, as a practical matter, the only way Kaepernick can re-establish himself? Unfortunately, it is.

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