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- Sporting News reported that Colin Kaepernick met with the XFL about potentially joining the revamped version of the league for its 2020 season.
- Kaepernick has reportedly been asking for $20 million a year, making a deal with either the XFL or Alliance of American Football unlikely.
- Still, with Vince McMahon running the show, there’s a reason to think that Kaepernick makes sense for the XFL even at his steep price.
Just a few weeks after Colin Kaepernick settled his grievance with the NFL, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback has been reported to be in talks of a return to the sport.
Lawyer Mark Geragos, who represented Kaepernick and Eric Reid in their grievance, said in the days following the settlement that Kaepernick "absolutely wants to play," and teased the Panthers and Patriots as possible destinations for his NFL return.
Kaepernick was also tied to conversations with the Alliance of American Football, though those discussions reportedly ended quickly due to Kaepernick’s asking price of $20 million — a steep departure from the $250,000, three-year, non-guaranteed contracts standard amongst the league’s athletes.
According to a report from Sporting News on Monday, the XFL also met with Kaepernick, and while his asking price apparently hasn’t moved from $20 million, making a deal rather unlikely, bringing Kap into the revamped league is a move that would be in line with Vince McMahon’s business practices and commercial thinking.
Kaepernick’s presence doesn’t exactly fit with what the Alliance has billed itself to be — a second chance at the NFL that doubles as a tech company. The brand is working in concert with the NFL, rather than in opposition.
But McMahon’s new XFL, like the original that came before it, is a different story.
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McMahon is a creator of spectacle. As CEO of WWE, he’s responsible for one of the biggest events in live entertainment every year at WrestleMania. To ensure that Mania is a success, McMahon has been known to pay top dollar for big draws to return for the show. It’s this type of thinking that has led to former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar’s dominant reign as a WWE champion for the better part of the past five years.
According to Sporting News, McMahon was aiming to pay XFL quarterbacks $250,000 a season, and if he holds firm on that number, Kaepernick would likely happily let the league go on without him.
But there’s a reason to think that Kaepernick might be worth the high price for the upstart league.
If McMahon is trying to compete with the XFL, he’ll need to draw viewers in real numbers, and no NFL free agent would be a bigger draw than Kaepernick. Just the fact that he had a conversation with the league earned headlines (including this one), and an actual signing would go a long way towards the league’s promotion and general interest from both casual and hardcore football fans.
McMahon could find that paying the extra price for Kaepernick is worth the investment for the same reason he brings back the likes of Dwayne Johnson, Goldberg, and Brock Lesnar for huge matches at WrestleMania — it gets viewers to tune in.
Kaepernick is clearly most interested in getting another starting job in the NFL, and if neither the Alliance or XFL are interested in paying a high price to bring him to their league, there’s a good chance he’ll just continue his activism — he has no reason to take a job he doesn’t want or need.
But if McMahon wants to make a splash with the return of the XFL, he might want to keep negotiating with Kaepernick.
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