The Carolina Panthers have decided not to have any personnel attend Colin Kaepernick’s NFL-sponsored workout in Atlanta on Saturday. I think that is a strategic mistake by a team that is a contender with a shaky quarterback group.
There are a lot of questions around this workout right now. The NFL has seemingly bent over backwards to make this seem as ill-conceived and inconvenient as possible, but that is all irrelevant to the current position of the Panthers quarterback room.
Panthers not planning to be at Colin Kaepernick workout, per sources.— Joe Person (@josephperson) November 14, 2019
The reasoning is along the lines of what David Tepper recently told Eric Reid: Team not looking to add a veteran QB.
Wait, what’s happening?
You’ve probably already heard that the NFL is sponsoring a workout for free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick this Saturday. All 32 teams are supposed to be invited. The details are ever-evolving, but the gist is this: the NFL scheduled the workout for a Saturday, which is one of the busiest days of the week for NFL teams, with the obvious exception of Sundays. Teams are either traveling or preparing for their games the next day. Reportedly, Kaepernick’s representatives sought to move the workout to a different day and were denied by the NFL. They then reportedly gave Kaepernick a two hour window from their invitation within which to accept or not.
One of the conditions of the workout is that the league would tell Kaepernick which teams would have high level decision makers in attendance. Some teams have indicated that they will send a scout or other staff member to the workout. As of this writing, nobody is sending a coach or general manager which could have been taken as a sign of a team giving this opportunity serious consideration.
Yesterday it was reported that the league is not going to honor its agreement with Kaepernick’s camp to notify them of who will be in attendance. That definitely doesn’t sound like the NFL doing the bare minimum to say they ‘tried’ to help get Kaepernick back in the league.
Why should the Panthers care?
Because, frankly, there is no guarantee that Cam Newton or Kyle Allen will be the future for the Panthers. Newton’s health is a constantly changing question that can’t be fully faced until training camp next year. Allen’s career is most based on potential right now and him reaching that potential isn’t a sure thing. The Panthers should be flipping every stone they can find for another option at the most critical position in football just in case.
Even if they do start flipping those stones, they aren’t likely to find much of anybody who would be helpful right now. Quarterbacks with a similar skill set and resume to Cam Newton aren’t walking around the streets as free agents. We all remember the last time the team needed late season free agent help at quarterback they signed Brian St. Pierre.
Kaepernick has taken a team to the Super Bowl. He was first reviled in this league by Panthers fans who thought his success on a bigger market team was overshadowing Cam Newton’s nascent—and we dared believe better—career.
The Panthers need an answer at quarterback and they don’t know if that answer is on their roster right now or not. They don’t know if Kaepernick is capable of being that answer. They won’t know if he is capable of being that answer, either, unless they do their due diligence
Why don’t they care?
There is every chance we don’t know the real answer to this question. Panthers owner David Tepper reportedly told Eric Reid, a long time friend and ally of Kaepernick’s, that the Panthers would consider the former San Francisco quarterback if they decided to look at veteran options.
The Carolina Panthers are the geographically closest franchise, besides the hosting one, to the facility in Atlanta where the workout is scheduled to happen. They couldn’t spare one scout for a four hour drive? They have the lowest possible barrier to clear to put eyes on Kaepernick.
I guess we’re just supposed to believe that the Panthers are not interested in a veteran quarterback at a time when they are one Kyle Allen injury (who has already spent time on the injury report this season with throwing shoulder soreness) away from starting Will Grier.