Colin Kaepernick continues his battle with the NFL without compromising his activist stance. He has been a free agent for three years, while simultaneously dragging the league to court on collusion allegations. Earlier this year, the quarterback and the NFL reached a reportedly hefty settlement. However, even as the NFL planned a workout for Kaepernick, it seems that his free agency won’t be ending anytime soon. Even if he’s unsigned, Kaepernick’s wealth remains mostly intact. In light of the latest developments, his net worth in 2019 is estimated at $20.0 million. Here’s how Kaepernick maintained his wealth while on his crusade.
Colin Kaepernick Was Drafted by the MLB
Colin Kaepernick was born on November 3, 1987 in Wisconsin to a white mother and African-American father. His parents separated before he was born and his biological mother put him up for adoption.
Rick and Teresa Kaepernick adopted Colin and initially raised him in Wisconsin before they moved to California when he was four. When he was a young child, he picked up football, basketball, and baseball.
Baseball had been his focus in high school and he received numerous college offers as a pitcher. But, determined to play college football, he accepted the University of Nevada’s football scholarship.
Colin showed recruiters that he was good in any sport, ranking among the top quarterback prospects in the country and setting numerous records. His baseball skills didn’t wane, either, earning him an opportunity from the Chicago Cubs in the 2009 MLB draft.
Colin, however, wanted to continue with football and turned down the Cubs, choosing to stay in college. In the 2011 NFL draft, the San Francisco 49ers picked him in the second round.
Kaepernick Signed a Six-Year Contract Extension with the 49ers
When Kaepernick began his NFL career with the 49ers in 2011, his salary that year was $2.6 million. In the subsequent seasons, his salary was less than a million.
Then, in June 2014, Kaepernick signed a six-year contract extension with the 49ers that was worth a whopping $126.0 million, with a record $61.0 million in potential guaranteed money. Other reports say the contract stipulated $54.0 million in potential guarantees, with $13.0 million fully guaranteed. That year, his salary jumped to $13.07 million.
At the peak of his NFL career, Kaepernick’s highest salary was $14.3 million in 2016. That was the last time he got a salary from the NFL.
Kaepernick began the 2016 season coming off three surgeries, and also marking the beginning of his social justice activism. But he hit a stumbling block when the 49ers hired Kyle Shanahan from Atlanta as a new coach. Shanahan didn’t see Kaepernick as a good fit for the changes he wanted to bring, so Kaepernick opted out of his contract and entered free agency in 2017.
The following table illustrates Kaepernick’s earnings from the NFL until 2016.
|Career Earnings||$43.47 million|
Kaepernick Filed a Grievance against the NFL
After he went unsigned, Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL in 2017, alleging the league conspired against him based on his political statements instead of focusing on his performance. He claimed that the league and the owners were colluding to keep him from playing in the NFL for taking a knee during the national anthem as a form of protest.
The NFL tried to get the case dismissed but was denied by an arbitrator. Which meant Colin’s case was set to go to trial. Legal analysts, however, projected that both sides had a lot to lose if the case went to trial.
In February 2019, it was reported that Kaepernick reached a confidential settlement with the NFL and had withdrawn the grievance. Details about the settlement were never revealed and many reports show conflicting estimates of what Kaepernick may have received in the settlement.
Kaepernick Fronted Nike’s Ad Campaign in 2018
While his NFL career seemed to be at a standstill, Kaepernick remained a force that would initiate dialogue on issues he stood for. His influence was further determined when Nike picked him as the face of the 30th anniversary of their “Just Do It” ad campaign.
The Nike ad, featuring Kaepernick with the words “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” was polarizing in many ways. Some thought Nike would suffer commercially for this bold move where most brands would refuse to pick sides. But the campaign worked well for both Nike and Kaepernick.
The advertisement came at a time when most people thought the unsigned free agent had lost his endorsement deals. Kaepernick had joined Nike’s roster of athletes in 2011, but hadn’t worked in any of its campaigns until 2018.
Some believed that Nike had dropped him when he was left teamless in 2017. As it turns out, Nike had not only kept Kaepernick on their roster, but also selected him as a brand ambassador for their groundbreaking campaign.
It was reported that the brand had signed Kaepernick on to a contract that was on par with active NFL players. Not only had Nike seen a surge in sales, Kaepernick stood to make millions every year and also earn royalties on a planned Kaepernick-focused line.
NFL or not, this Nike deal is proving that Kaepernick’s financial stability is ensured.