The NFL rumors picked up almost immediately after Derek Carr’s injury on Sunday, with speculation that the Oakland Raiders could finally give Colin Kaepernick his chance to return to the league.
Kaepernick has remained atop the free agency heap ever since opting out of his San Francisco 49ers contract at the end of last season. Although Kaepernick was statistically the strongest candidate among the available quarterbacks, he was passed over for every opening this offseason, leading to rumors that he was being blackballed for his national anthem protest that has since expanded across the league.
That could soon be changing, however. On Sunday, the Oakland Raiders lost starting quarterback Derek Carr for up to six weeks with a fractured back. That has thrust backup E.J. Manuel into the starting role and taken away the quarterback who led the Raiders from perennial bottom-dweller into the NFL to atop the AFC West.
Although Manuel has experience as a starter with the Buffalo Bills, there is speculation that the Raiders may want to bring in an experienced backup as a steady hand should he struggle. As the SB Nation blog Silver and Black Pride noted, Colin Kaepernick would appear to be the strongest choice. The report also noted that one of the major factors in Kaepernick not signing — his national anthem protest — has been negated now that a large chunk of the league took a knee after Donald Trump’s derisive comments about the demonstrations.
“All this is to say, Kaepernick’s presence on a team wouldn’t be quite as controversial as it once was — not that the Raiders have ever really cared about such things,” the report noted. “It inevitably leads back to the question of his on-field talents and whether he would be a good addition to a team, like the Raiders, who have playoff aspirations and are now facing as many as 6 weeks with EJ Manuel and Connor Cook as the team’s starter and backup respectively.”
The Raiders are also in a bit of a bind at quarterback. Many around the team believed Cook would win the backup role, showing progression and promise as a potential starter in the NFL. Instead, he was outperformed by Manuel during training camp and the preseason, allowing the streaky and often inaccurate former Bills quarterback to win the job.
While there are rumors floating around the NFL that the Oakland Raiders could sign Colin Kaepernick, there is not yet any official indication from the team that they are looking for a new signal-caller. And there are other rumors of potential landing points for Kaepernick, with Fox Sports speculating that the Tennessee Titans could bring him in to back up Marcus Mariota.
[Featured Image by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]