Will Colin Kaepernick Return to the NFL? Lawyer Believes Patriots and Panthers Could Be Interested in Signing Former 49ers QB

Colin Kaepernick
Honoree Colin Kaepernick speaks onstage at ACLU SoCal Hosts Annual Bill of Rights Dinner at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on December 3, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Colin Kaepernick's lawyer believes the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers could be interested in bringing the 31-year-old back into the NFL.

On Friday, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback and the NFL reached a settlement over a lawsuit he had filed against the 32 franchise owners in the league. In the lawsuit, Kaepernick accused the owners of colluding to keep him out of the league after he became a free agent almost two years ago.

The former Wisconsin student became a worldwide icon in 2016, when he knelt during the national anthem to protest against racial and social injustice.

He was strongly criticized by President Donald Trump and by a number of conservative commentators for his gesture, while a large portion of fans accused him of disrespecting the flag.

However, after the NFL and Kaepernick reached a settlement, Mark Geragos believes his client's hiatus could be coming to an end.

"I'm going to make a bold prediction that one of three teams picks him up," he told CNN on Saturday.

"The natural would be if Cam Newton is out, then the natural place would be to play with Eric [Reid] in Carolina."

Reid played alongside Kaepernick for the 49ers and was among the first players to support his teammate's protest. Like Kaepernick, the 18th overall pick of the 2013 draft also struggled to find a team after becoming a free agent at the end of the 2017 season.

The one-time Pro Bowl selection was eventually handed a route back into the league by the Carolina Panthers, who signed him up as a free agent in September. As is the case with Kaepernick, Reid has also reached a settlement with the NFL over a grievance the NFL Players' Association had filed on his behalf in May last year.

Last month, Panthers' owner David Tepper told ESPN Newton might have to take a year off from playing to undergo a second shoulder surgery. Tepper cited the example of Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who sat out the 2017 campaign and was back to his best last season, to suggest Newton could benefit from an extended recovery period.

Should the first overall pick of the 2011 draft follow Tepper's advice, the Panthers would have to fill a vacancy under center and Kaepernick could be among the candidates.

However, Geragos the former 49ers quarterback could land an even more prestigious job.

"Besides the Panthers, it would not surprise me if [New England Patriots owner] Bob Kraft makes a move," he explained. "That would not surprise me." Geragos' interview was then cut off before he could reveal the identity of the third franchise.

Kraft is renowned for being a supporter of President Donald Trump but he was fiercely critical of the way Trump handled the issue of anthem protests in the NFL.

Politics aside, however, it remains to be seen where Kaepernick could fit in with the Patriots.

The six-time Super Bowl winners do not immediately need a quarterback as Tom Brady has insisted he wants to play until his 45th birthday. The California native will turn 42 in August and the Patriots would only be looking for a back-up quarterback as opposed to a starter.