The B.C. Lions may have added quarterback Colin Kaepernick to their negotiation list, but don’t expect to see him in Vancouver anytime soon.
TSN‘s Farhan Lalji reported on Thursday that the Lions now own the 35-year-old’s exclusive CFL rights. However, B.C. co-general manager Neil McEvoy told 3DownNation there have not been any conversations with the player or his representatives about bringing Kaepernick north of the border.
“Much like everyone on our neg list, we have made no contact with him and are not looking to bring another QB in.”
League by-laws allow teams to claim exclusive CFL rights for up to 45 players by placing them on their negotiation lists. Players can be added, removed or traded from the lists at any time.
This is Kaepernick’s second stint on the Lions’ list, as former general manager Wally Buono was the first to claim his rights while he was still at the University of Nevada. After being dropped by B.C., he has been claimed on two separate occasions by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and once by the Montreal Alouettes.
Kaepernick was initially selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft and went on to play six seasons for the organization. He threw for 12,271 yards, 72 touchdowns and 30 interceptions while rushing for 2,300 yards (6.1 yards per carry) and 13 touchdowns, leading the Niners to a Super Bowl berth in 2012.
The dual-threat passer became the subject of controversy in 2016 when he began kneeling during the American national anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality against the Black community. Kaepernick became a free agent in March of 2017 after opting out of his contract with the 49ers and has not played since.
Kaepernick’s long absence from professional football has led to accusations of him being blackballed due to his activism. He filed a grievance against the NFL for collusion and later settled out of court in 2019 for an undisclosed amount.
The Lions’ negotiation list addition coincides with Kaepernick’s latest attempt to make an NFL comeback. On Tuesday, rapper J. Cole posted a letter written by the quarterback to social media which was addressed to New York Jets’ general manager Joe Douglas. In it, Kaepernick lobbied to be signed to the team’s practice squad in the aftermath of Aaron Rodgers’ season-ending injury.
While Kaepernick has consistently kept his name in the NFL conversation throughout his long exile, even working out for the Las Vegas Raiders last season, there has been little traction around him coming to the CFL. The quarterback earned more than $43 million throughout his short career and continues to cash in via endorsements.
In 2019, he approached the now-defunct Alliance of American Football and the XFL about playing in their leagues, but reportedly requested a salary of $20 million. If his self-valuation has not dramatically changed, the CFL will not be a viable option and most around the league do not view him as a realistic possibility to play in Canada.
It is unclear how serious the Lions are about the prospect of attracting Kaepernick down the road, with McEvoy describing him as “just a name on a list that is very fluid and changes daily.” However, associating your brand with a high-profile name is never a bad marketing strategy.