Arguably the biggest news to come out of the NFL on Tuesday did not involve a player currently under contract with one of the league’s 32 teams, but rather free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The 32-year-old, who has been out of the league since the 2017 offseason, will hold a private workout and interview session on Saturday in Atlanta — a first step towards potentially returning to pro football almost three years after his last game.
“I’m just getting word from my representatives that the NFL league office reached out to them about a workout in Atlanta on Saturday,” Kaepernick said about the situation in a statement released via his Twitter account on Tuesday. “I’ve been in shape and ready for this for 3 years, can’t wait to see the head coaches and GMs on Saturday.”
While there is no official word yet about which organizations will eventually make the trip to Atlanta to watch the former San Francisco 49ers passer work out, one organization should be among those attending: the New England Patriots should send some representatives to the pro day-style event. The team has an established and undisputed starting quarterback in Tom Brady, yes, but there is still value in at least visiting Kaepernick’s workout.
After all, the Patriots are regularly taking a look at free agent players to update their files on them. Kaepernick has not played in the league since January 2017, while New England last prepared to go up against him in November 2016, so getting a first-hand look at the former second-round draft pick cannot hurt — especially if he ultimately ends up signing with another team, and maybe needs to be defended at one point in the future.
Attending the workout could also give the club a better foundation to decide whether or not to add him to the list of potential emergency or depth quarterbacks, and possibly even to challenge the existing depth on the 53-man roster. While the team appears to be happy with Tom Brady’s current backups, fourth-round rookie Jarrett Stidham and in-season addition Cody Kessler, Kaepernick’s experience and skillset are certainly intriguing.
Of course, the long-term perspective of potentially adding the 64-game-starter to the team — even if as a third-stringer to help prepare for players such as the Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson — is dependent on a lot of factors: from the financial aspect, to Kaepernick’s pre-game protests against racial injustice, to the media circus adding him would create, to his ability to get up to speed quickly after being out of football for a prolonged period of time.
But attending his workout on Saturday and interviewing him should at least give the Patriots a clearer picture on where his career is currently at, and what he could bring to the table for themselves or another team. There is no harm in at least taking a close look at him.
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