Colin Kaepernick could have played in the reborn XFL, but his salary demands were too high, commissioner Oliver Luck said in an interview.
Luck told National Public Radio that league representatives reached out to Kaepernick’s side but knew the numbers couldn’t work.
“We gave it some thought,” Luck said in the interview, which aired over the weekend to coincide with the league’s debut. “We have some pretty significant salary restrictions, you know. We’re a start-up league, so we want to make sure that we can be fiscally responsible and fiscally prudent.”
Signing Kaepernick to the eight-team league apparently didn’t fit that description.
“We spoke with his representative, and the salary requirements that were broached in that conversation were exorbitant and certainly out of our range,” Luck said.
Luck didn’t name Kaepernick’s asking price, but Kaepernick reportedly told officials with the now-defunct Alliance of American Football last year that he wanted $20 million a season.
Fox Business reported that the average XFL player will earn about $55,000 for the 10-week regular season, but marquee players could make up to $500,000.
Luck said that he couldn’t commit to bringing Kaepernick into the league now even if the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback drastically lowered his salary demands. The two sides last spoke several months ago.
“I don’t know,” Luck said. “That was well over a year ago, so I don’t know what kind of shape, you know, Colin is in. And, you know, we haven’t followed that because obviously, again, we want the best players who are interested in playing in our league.”
Kaepernick, 32, passed for 72 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in 69 games for the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-16.
He reached an undisclosed settlement 12 months ago with the NFL after filing a lawsuit alleging collusion by NFL teams to keep him out of the league because of his activism, including kneeling during the national anthem before games while playing with the 49ers.
—Field Level Media