Where Next for Colin Kaepernick? Former 49ers QB Wants $20M to Play in AAF

Colin Kaepernick reportedly considered playing in the newly-born Alliance of American Football but his wage demands proved to be a stumbling block.

According to The Associated Press, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback held talks with the AAF but wanted around $20 million a season to play in the league, which made its debut last week.

The figure does not fit in the league's financial frame. Every player in the AAF is signed up to a three-year, non-guaranteed $225,000-a-season contract.

AP reported that neither Kaepernick's camp nor the AAF have publicly acknowledged talks were held. That stance contradicts what league co-founder Bill Polian told The Athletic earlier this week, when he indicated AAF's chief executive Charlie Ebersol had spoken to Kaepernick.

In 2016, the quarterback rose to prominence when he knelt during the national anthem to protest against racial and social injustice. While the gesture made him a worldwide icon, he was strongly criticized by President Donald Trump and a number of conservative commentators and fans for disrespecting the flag.

Kaepernick became a free agent almost two years ago and has not been offered a tryout since. Last year, the second-round pick of the 2011 draft filed a lawsuit against the 32 NFL owners accusing them of colluding to keep him out of the league.

The 31-year-old is still holding out for a return to the NFL but he would boost the AAF's profile if he were to join it. The newly-born league said it aims to give players who are not on the NFL radar the chance to continue their careers.

According to AAF's figures, approximately 80 percent of players in the league have either been on an NFL roster or have taken part in an NFL training camp. The Alliance hopes that players who impress during the season can earn themselves the chance of playing in the NFL.

The AAF runs from the week after the Super Bowl until April, meaning any players who catch the attention of NFL teams would be available for training camp in May. AAF players who aren't offered a contract by NFL teams are obliged to return to the league the following season.

Last month, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was criticized for hinting the reason Kaepernick had not returned to the NFL was because no team thought he would help them improve.

"Our clubs are the ones that make decisions on players that they wanna have on their roster," he explained in his annual pre-Super Bowl press conference. "They make that individually. They make that in the best interests of their team. I think if a team decides that Colin Kaepernick or any other player can help their team win, that's what they'll do."

Aside from Kaepernick, Polian said he personally spoke to Tim Tebow about joining the AAF. However, the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner declined in order to continue his baseball career with the New York Mets.

A former SEC Player of the Year, Tebow swapped football for baseball in 2016 and has spent the last two seasons playing Minor League Baseball with the Mets.

Colin Kaepernick
Colin Kaepernick, then #7 of the San Francisco 49ers, warms up before the game against the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on December 24, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. Harry How/Getty Images