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Will the Chargers sign Colin Kaepernick?

Man, a LOT has changed recently.

Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

Amidst the civil unrest in America resulting from the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis earlier this month, the sports world has joined the rest of the country in demanding equality for African Americans.

Of course, the conversation of racial inequality in sports cannot be had without uttering the name Colin Kaepernick. The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback has been infamously absent from the NFL since kneeling during the National Anthem before games in 2016.

With QB’s of the caliber of Nathan Peterman and Mike Glennon starting games during his absence, Kaepernick’s name has logically been floated by fans. Why isn’t he on a roster? You’re telling me he’s not better than most backups?

Those conversations never actually extended to public comments by NFL teams – until now.

Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn broke the silence Wednesday morning, stating that teams “would be crazy” to not have the dual-threat QB on workout lists this offseason.

Lynn didn’t go as far to say that the Chargers would have Kaepernick in for a workout, but that can be safely assumed from his comments.

Signing Kaepernick would be a massive undertaking for the Chargers. The team is clearly attempting to tackle the racial inequality issue in America. Lynn is one of just three Black head coaches in the NFL.

But will the Chargers follow through and sign him? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.

Why signing Colin Kaepernick makes sense for the Chargers

For football reasons, which we’ll get to later, Kaepernick might not be the best fit.

But looking at the position the franchise is in at the moment, Kaepernick would give a desperately needed boost.

The Chargers might very well be the fifth or sixth most popular NFL team in Los Angeles. They’re clearly behind the Rams and Raiders. Anecdotally, it certainly feels like you’re much more likely to see 49ers, Steelers, Packers and Patriots gear in LA than a Chargers jersey.

During the team’s three-year stint in Carson’s Dignity Health Sports Park, most games looked and sounded like road games. The situation had the attention of players.

So with a new state-of-the-art stadium (hopefully) opening in September, how can the Chargers gain a foothold in their new town? By taking a stand that nobody else would take.

By signing Colin Kaepernick, the Chargers would earn the respect of millions of Americans that might not even know what the quarterback actually does of a football field. They would be the team to finally stand up to the President, and stand up for the African American community.

Training camp would undoubtedly be a media circus, but the Chargers would probably be okay with that at this point. Their fanbase would expand. Jersey sales would be through the roof.

The positive PR could be enough alone to sway ownership toward making the move, and that’s clearly something that Dean Spanos cares about right now.

There is something to be said about Kaepernick’s play on the field as well. Giving Tyrod Taylor some competition couldn’t hurt. Either one of them would be among the best backup QB’s in the league. Justin Herbert will likely be taking a redshirt year anyway, so maybe signing another QB could be in the cards.

Why it might not make sense

When taking purely football reasons into mind, signing Kaepernick makes for a tougher sell.

Tyrod Taylor has already spent a year with the organization and presumptively knows the offense well. He’s relatively safer with the ball than Kaepernick.

If the Chargers weren’t confident with Taylor starting this year, why didn’t they sign Cam Newton earlier this offseason?

There’s also the matter of roster spots. In addition to Taylor and Herbert, the Chargers also currently have Easton Stick on roster. They aren’t likely to carry more than two QB’s on the active roster, with another dressing in street clothes on the sidelines. If the Chargers sign Kaepernick for training camp, they would obviously need to cut one of them before the season.

Ultimately, it could depend on how the Chargers feel about Justin Herbert’s development. Would they feel confident in Herbert serving as the second-string QB in his rookie year? It would be a concerning look if Herbert was inactive for his entire rookie year.

The verdict

The Chargers probably won’t be the team to sign Colin Kaepernick. The backup QB spot is too solidified right now, with Herbert being the presumptive backup. From a PR perspective, the move would make perfect sense but the Chargers simply have other needs on the football field.

It’s hard to see Kaepernick be willing to sign with the Chargers knowing he’d likely be a camp body. With the shift taking place in society at the moment, it appears that teams are opening up to the idea of Kaepernick’s return.

Will he be an NFL QB in fall? The odds are looking great. Will he be a Los Angeles Charger? Probably not.

Austin covers the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Chargers for OT Heroics. Follow him on Twitter @AustinTurner_ . For more coverage on the NFL, check out the rest of the great content on Overtime Heroics

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