One of the common arguments against signing Colin Kaepernick revolves around the extra media attention his new team would face, even though the 32-year-old quarterback hasn’t played in the NFL since 2016 and it’s unclear what he’d be able to provide from purely a football standpoint.
Some teams are better than others at handling outside noise, however, and former Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich believes Kaepernick would fit in just fine with New England if Bill Belichick ultimately decided the veteran QB could help between the lines.
“Bringing guys in that could be a distraction, Bill Belichick is able to take the whole team, you come together, you have a team meeting, he explains everything to you and everyone just goes on as regular business,” Ninkovich said Monday on ESPN’s “Get Up!” “Every single day, you come in, you work on your craft and you try to be better individually as a player and try to come together as a team. I think Bill Belichick is if not the best, one of the best to ever bring a team together no matter who’s on the roster, no matter what they have at his disposal. He’s able to bring guys together from all over different parts. So I think that Kaepernick in a Patriots locker room would not be a distraction.”
Of course, one could make the case the Patriots shouldn’t sign Kaepernick because they are committed to second-year QB Jarrett Stidham. They already have a capable backup who knows the system in Brian Hoyer, and New England would run the risk of rattling Stidham’s confidence if it appeared the organization was bringing in Kaepernick to compete for the starting role in wake of Tom Brady’s departure.
But the Patriots typically aren’t afraid to take chances. And while a crazy amount of media attention undoubtedly would follow Kaepernick, who brought the issues of racial injustice and police brutality to the forefront several years ago by kneeling during the national anthem, it’s fair to wonder whether New England could at least consider signing the former San Francisco 49ers signal-caller.
The NFL has changed its stance on the protests spearheaded by Kaepernick, and it might just be a matter of time before he finally winds up back in the league. The Patriots would be a fascinating landing spot, if nothing else, and there’s reason to believe it’d work based on Belichick’s track record.