Colin Kaepernick will not only opt out of his National Anthem protest, he is also about to opt out of his contract with the 49ers. Now prepare for him to end up with, of all teams, the Seahawks.
As weird as Seattle might sound because of Kaepernick and San Francisco's history against their NFC West rival, it's the likeliest of unlikely destinations.
It would come with Kaepernick having to live with the disappointment of not being signed as a starting NFL quarterback. But it also would come with a great opportunity for the 29-year-old to get his career back on track, in the right place.
Kaepernick at one point looked like he and Russell Wilson would have many epic duels as strong-armed, mobile passers with championships on the line. It's hard to believe the 49ers-Seahawks classic NFC title game was played only three years ago, given what all has happened since.
Wilson led Seattle to a ring after the 2013 season, something Kaepernick fell just short of the season before. While Wilson and the 'Hawks have remained a conference contender, Kaepernick faded hard right along with the Niners' post-Jim Harbaugh freefall.
Before we get into that "other" thing that might keep Kaepernick from finding his ideal second-team scenario, the Seahawks can be a great benefit to him finding his way on the field again.
Kaepernick still has the basic skill set, with that arm and that mobility, to serve as an ideal seasoned backup to Wilson. That No. 2 role is currently held by second-year undrafted QB Trevone Boykin, an intriguing athletic talent who still is more of a developmental project than insurance.
Kaepernick could absorb many good things from Wilson by working with him in practice. Kaepernick's footwork, accuracy and mechanics all have taken big hits in his regression. Wilson, meanwhile, has pushed those aspects of his game to the top of the league.
The two used to be a lot different personalities as younger QBs. Kaepernick was Kaepernicking, and Wilson was Go Hawksing. Kaepernick has gone from his shoes to issues, while Wilson has traded bland for bold. Meeting in the middle, they could mesh well on the same depth chart.
Kaepernick also has lacked both reliable coaching and a comfortable supporting cast since Harbaugh left. Pete Carroll could provide the stability for him on the sidelines, and Darrell Bevell has the offense to maximize his abilities. The Seahawks are in desperate need of offensive line help, but they offer a diverse array of playmakers Kaepernick hasn't had since his early Niners starting QB days.
Here's the twist: Kaepernick, foiled often by the Seahawks' defense, has gained more respect from players on that unit. There was some Seattle solidarity with him during his national anthem protests, led by Jeremy Lane. Richard Sherman understood of what Kaepernick was trying to do. Michael Bennett gave his full support.
Kaepernick reportedly won't be protesting like that next season, but many potential future coaches and teammates still will feel they can't stand by what he already has done. Kaepernick doesn't need to worry about that with the Seahawks.
Kaepernick already has a great challenge in finding another team because of how he's played football of late, including some durability concerns. Combined with the controversy, the reality is that his free agency options are limited.
It will take a progressive team with a particular need, and the Seahawks best fit the profile. The rest is on Kaepernick accepting that there's a good chance he isn't perceived as anyone's No. 1 anymore. Sure, it's a demotion, but it's also a favorable — and maybe only — road to redemption and resurrection.
Kaepernick didn't seem to care that his actions and political statements would hurt his future earning power in the NFL. If he can accept taking lesser money, he shouldn't see settling for second in Seattle as a lesser move, but rather a necessary one that can turn into a blessing.
The Seahawks' job for several seasons was to stop Kaepernick. Don't be shocked if they're soon charged with restarting him as their backup.