USA TODAY Sports’ Tom Pelissero recaps the NFL owners meeting and the proposed league rule changes.

PHOENIX – The plan for Colin Kaepernick in free agency was always to be patient.

There was no pressing need to for him to take just any job, no matter how much – to borrow a phrase from Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh – “intellectually lazy” discussion about the cause of his unemployment that would’ve saved us all.

Absolutely, Kaepernick’s high-profile decision to kneel for the national anthem last season and subsequent activism factors into the conversation for teams. For all the great work he’s doing in communities – including a plan in progress to donate $1 million to charities – the possibility he might tick off sponsors and fans by showing up one day in police pig socks or a Fidel Castro shirt or whatever is bound to make some people uncomfortable, particularly if he’s a backup.

But at no point in conversations with a handful of NFL general managers, among others, this week at the league meetings did I get the sense there’s a plot here to keep Kaepernick out, or even that lots of individual owners are overruling their football people’s desires to bring him in.


Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera referenced Kaepernick’s “big price tag” at the NFC coaches breakfast Wednesday, but there’s no reason to think he’s pricing himself out of work either. If Kaepernick has a shot to start, Robert Griffin III’s two-year, $15 million deal with the Cleveland Browns last year is a logical baseline. If not, the price obviously would drop closer to what other No. 2s are getting, but there are still too many unsettled situations to take that type of deal now.

What I heard most frequently sounded a lot like what I heard when the San Francisco 49ers…