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Kaepernick Odds: Does Nike’s Ad Man Come Back to NFL?

Eric Rosales

by Eric Rosales in NFL Football

Updated Apr 2, 2020 · 12:10 PM PDT

Colin Kaepernick throws downfield
Colin Kaepernick has not played a down in the NFL since 2016. Photo by Lt. Keenan Kunst (Royal Air Force).
  • Kaepernick the face of Nike 30th anniversary ‘Just Do It’ campaign
  • Does this move the needle to a possible return to the NFL?
  • Scanning the teams that could still use a quarterback

Well, sports fans, if you like your major shoe and apparel brand ad campaigns coupled with lightning rods of controversy, then this is your 1.21 gigawatt bolt.

Initial reports suggested that Kaep may have hit it big financially. While it has yet to be confirmed, it was a social media ‘Kickfight on the Keystrokes’ between Yahoo’s Charles Robinson and ESPN’s Darren Rovell.

Rovell said the former 49ers QB – who hasn’t played in the NFL since the 2016 season – has been with Nike since 2011, but has been on the shelf until this new campaign. It seemed to just be business as usual.

Robinson wouldn’t have it.

Until Nike clarifies that, all we know for sure is the ad features Kaepernick, and it’s a decision that must have caught the NFL by surprise, who, by the way, are partners with Nike.

Everyone from Fox News to average joes with access to the internet and a book of matches has been setting fire to this story and any apparel with a swoosh they can get their hands on.

While conservative USA continues to make this a flag and nation disrespect thing, oddsmakers are sparking up another sort of flame: does Kaepernick make his way back to the NFL?

Odds Colin Kaepernick Plays in the NFL in 2018

Yes No
+450 -700

This is a tough one to try an unravel. Perhaps the biggest roadblock is the fact that he’s currently suing the NFL, asserting NFL owners colluded against signing him.

Kaepernick was the first player to peacefully protest police violence by taking a knee during the national anthem, setting off a wave of social consciousness that the NFL was not prepared for.

His case is going well, considering a recent mini-breakthrough win:

Yikes. There’s no telling where this ends up.

It’s definitely in the NFL’s best interest not to go to trial and settle this case. But that would appear to be an admission of guilt in the ever-popular court of public opinion.

A better ending for the league would be for a team to offer him a contract, thus ending things on the legal front. Maybe a little encouragement from commissioner Roger Goodell to the 32 owners, perhaps?

Who would have imagined that alleged collusion could be solved with … collusion?

YouTube video

It’s a different time in the NFL, however. It used to be that QBs were a scarce commodity, but the talent pool has been replenished while there are plenty of old fish still getting it done.

Still, in his last year, Kaepernick was respectable on a really bad 49ers team. He threw for over 2,200 yards at nearly a 60% completion rate. He threw 16 touchdown passes to just four picks, and also ran for close to 500 yards. It should be noted that he was replaced that season, benched for the immortal Blaine Gabbert.

Here’s a list of teams that could or should be taking a flier on previous pro bowl-calibre QB.

Odds to sign Colin Kaepernick in 2018

Name Odds
Miami Dolphins 10/1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 15/1
Houston Texans 30/1
Jacksonville Jaguars 40/1
New York Giants 50/1
Pittsburgh Steelers 60/1
LA Chargers 60/1

As you can see, as much as I believe he can still be a viable quarterback in the NFL, the chances of that happening are extremely limited now.

Barring a major injury, it doesn’t look good.

Kaepernick can be a Bridge in Miami

The Dolphins appear to be the best proposition, and Ryan Tannehill’s inconsistent play is just one of the factors. This team is eternally cap-strapped, and would need to pony up Tannehill after this season.

That’s not a long term commitment anyone wants to make. Letting him walk and letting Kaepernick come in on a short term deal helps them kick the can down the road, until they find a real plan.

Kaepernick to Replace Jameis?

Tampa Bay is a mess, and Jameis Winston is skating on razor-thin ice. Any poor play on the field is not going to be worth it, considering how awful he has been off the field. Again, Kaep provides a stop gap to a team that actually has some legit talent.

Can Kaepernick Help a Super Bowl Contender?

Houston and Jacksonville are break-in-case-of-emergency spots. Kaepenick is not on DeShaun Watson’s level, but he can provide a poor man’s facsimile. If Blake Bortles goes down, he might be an upgrade, able to expand the Jags’ playbook for a team that is considered a Super Bowl contender.

And then it’s an ode to the 2003 draft class. How do the Steelers, Chargers and Giants not have a next-step once their vet pivots call it a career? Kaepernick presents a lower-cost stop-gap while they draft and develop (hopefully) the next franchise Manning, Rivers or Big Ben.

NFL owners: please, Just Do It.

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