Former Super Bowl-appearing San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick could be one step closer to making his long-anticipated return to the NFL after last appearing in the league in 2016.
According to reports, the Las Vegas Raiders are hosting Kaepernick for a workout sometime this week. The workout follows public comments by owner Mark Davis that the franchise would be open to working out the former NFC Championship-winning quarterback this offseason.
Kaepernick last appeared for the 49ers in 2016 after battling personal injuries and roster turnover following the team’s 2014 Super Bowl appearance. Kaepernick posted a 3-16 record over his final two seasons as a starter, losing the position at times.
Kaepernick gained notable attention in September 2016 after kneeling during the National Anthem in a peaceful protest towards police brutality and other injustices in America. The movement, which soon saw hundreds of other NFL players join in, sparked national debate, controversy, and support.
After losing 16 of 19 starts in his final two seasons, Kaepernick justifiably garnered little attention when becoming a free agent in 2017. But it would be foolish to argue Kaepernick wasn’t one of the best 64 quarterbacks available that offseason: that is to say, even if Kaepernick wasn’t a high-end starting-caliber player anymore, he still could have played the role of a solid backup, or even a starter on a quarterback-hungry team.
Kaepernick’s name has swirled around each offseason, as well as each time a major quarterback injury pops up, but nothing much usually comes of it. Kaepernick has hosted a public workout for all 32 NFL teams and been previously linked to Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks, but neither led to a fruitful contract signing.
The Las Vegas Raiders are next up, and whether their interest in Kaepernick is genuine or a show of good faith for Davis’s public comments is yet to be seen.
Derek Carr is the clear option at starter for Las Vegas, but after losing Marcus Mariota, both an effective backup and viable threat to mix up the offense, the Raiders are in line for a clear #2 quarterback on the depth chart. The Raiders current quarterback room is crowded, featuring Jarrett Stidham, Nick Mullens, and Chase Garber.
But none of those quarterbacks have the experience that Kaepernick has amassed, guiding a team to the Super Bowl and coming within inches of winning it. It remains to be seen just how effective Kaepernick would be at 34 years old, with five years away from the game. But if Kaepernick impresses Las Vegas, he could look to fill a role similar to the one Mariota has held for the past couple seasons.
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