The NFL rumors point toward an overhaul for the Oakland Raiders, with both Colin Kaepernick and Le’Veon Bell reportedly targets for the team now that Jon Gruden is at the helm.
Since taking over, Gruden has reportedly gone to work on exploring how the Raiders can upgrade their roster and return to contention in the wide-open AFC West. Reports last week indicated that the Raiders could be a landing spot for Le’Veon Bell in free agency, though 24/7 Sports noted that he will come with a high price tag — and could still get a franchise tag from the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Raiders would be able to release Marshawn Lynch should they want to make a run at Bell, a move that would free up $6 million in cap space.
The more intriguing rumors come amid reports that the Oakland Raiders could sign Colin Kaepernick. The Raiders have a bit of a question mark at backup quarterback, with E.J. Manuel set to become a free agent this year and no clear option behind Derek Carr.
Jon Gruden has been very high on Colin Kaepernick in the past. In an interview with the San Francisco 49ers official website in 2015, Gruden was full of praise for Kaepernick, who was then a starter for the 49ers.
“He’s a great athlete. That was a strange offense at Reno. Let’s be honest, that was an offense not a lot of people had ever seen. He was a dual threat, but a lot of the damage that he did, he did with his legs. I did not think he could throw the ball like he’s been throwing it for the last couple years. He’s gotten better. His experience shows.”
There are signs that Jon Gruden still has Colin Kaepernick on his mind. San Francisco 49ers beat reporter Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle said he believes Gruden is giving serious thought to signing Kaepernick as the backup for the Raiders.
If the Oakland Raiders were to sign Colin Kaepernick, it could neutralize one of the common worries about the former Super Bowl starter’s return to the NFL — his national anthem protest had teams too afraid to sign him. The Raiders have had their share of players demonstrating during the national anthem, including Marshawn Lynch, and the city of Oakland has been more receptive to Kaepernick’s cause than other potential destinations.