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Kaepernick to Panthers: Pros and Cons

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The Carolina Panthers are one of the teams that, if you ask any NFL analyst right now, you would say that they are desperate for a quarterback. The Sam Darnold experiment has not worked out to the Panthers’ liking, and fans are tired of the BS that is coming through the front office. The quarterback pool is getting thinner and thinner by the day. One name that is going unlooked right now, even with the renewed attention is Colin Kaepernick.

The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback has been asking for an opportunity to be back in the NFL, even going as far as to say he would accept a backup role. There is no interest at the moment, but with limited options for Carolina, it would not be out of place to have Kaepernick come in for a workout and possibly sign with the Panthers. Here are the pros and cons of Colin Kaepernick signing with the Carolina Panthers.

ANN ARBOR, MI – APRIL 02: Colin Kaepernick interacts with Michigan Wolverine head coach Jim Harbaugh during a throwing exhibition during half time of the Michigan spring football game at Michigan Stadium on April 2, 2022 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Jaime Crawford/Getty Images)

Pros

Carolina Would Not Be Giving up Much if Anything for Him

If the Panthers were to pursue Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield or San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo, there would be that fear of giving up a crucial draft pick either this year or next year. Sadly, Carolina celebrated the one-year anniversary of when they traded a 2nd, 4th, and 6th round pick to the New York Jets for Sam Darnold, so they wouldn’t want a repeat of that. With Kaepernick, no draft capital will be used here.

Currently, the Carolina Panthers have over $30 million in cap space. If they were to sign Kaepernick, it would be a one-year “prove it” deal with a lot of the money being offered through incentives. If they need an option that is statistically better than Sam Darnold without breaking the bank, Kaepernick would be an affordable option.

It’s a Win-Win Situation for Carolina

At this point, the Carolina Panthers are in a rough spot that is of their own creation. Instead of drafting a Mac Jones or Justin Fields to develop, the Panthers’ front office decided to draft a cornerback named Jaycee Horn. Another NFL Draft is upon us and we are hearing conflicting reports of Carolina in the market for the top prospects at the important position. If the Panthers are not comfortable with this year’s quarterback class, there is always next year.

Suppose Kaepernick signs with the Panthers, becomes the starter, and leads the Panthers to a wild card berth in a less than stellar NFC, then the Panthers have their backup quarterback while they look for a long-term option. The other side is that Kaepernick signs with Carolina, shows a lot of rust, and becomes the final nail in the coffin of Matt Rhule’s tenure in Carolina. The Panthers would get a high draft pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and can be in line for a top quarterback prospect. So, it would be a win-win situation for the Panthers.

Cons

Media Attention Would Be a Distraction

Any time Colin Kaepernick is mentioned in any discussion on any sports debate show, they bring up the idea that he was “blackballed” by the NFL due to his beliefs. In 2016, Kaepernick took a knee during the National Anthem to protest police brutality. A portion of America was against his actions and made him out to be the bad guy here.

If Colin Kaepernick signs with the Carolina Panthers, the negative PR might follow him to the Queen City. There might be a little backlash from fans who still have reservations against Kaepernick. Any fans that hate on the Carolina Panthers possibly signing Colin Kaepernick might want to keep that same energy because some wanted Deshaun Watson even with his allegations. Also, even if it is for the wrong reasons, the sports debate shows would talk about the Panthers, win or lose.

Field Rust

January 1, 2017. This was the last regular-season game that Colin Kaepernick played in the National Football League. Ever since then, Kaepernick has worked out for several years, becoming an activist and being a focal point for documentaries and articles all over the world. Kaepernick has vowed to be part of the NFL again and thinks this is the best opportunity for him.

Working out with current and former NFL quarterbacks and wide receivers does not help out in working off that field rust. In signing with the Panthers, there would be an emphasis on Kaepernick starting as soon as possible due to the ineptitude of Sam Darnold. Hopefully, Colin would have a full training camp and a preseason to get back into football mentality to prepare for the upcoming regular season.


Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

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