Photo credit: @BleacherReport
By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Speaking from the coaches breakfast at the NFL owners meetings Tuesday, Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden offered his thoughts on why Colin Kaepernick remains unsigned.
“I think there’s a lot of intrigue,” Gruden said via ESPN staff writer Paul Gutierrez. “His performance on the field wasn’t very good, on tape. I think, Robert Griffin, a rookie of the year, [I’m surprised] he’s out there. Tim Tebow takes a team to the playoffs, there’s some surprise that he never came back. You know, Johnny Manziel, he’s out there.
“Back to Kapernick, he got beat out by [Blaine] Gabbert to start the  season. I think that say’s something. [But] I am surprised he’s not in camp with somebody. He probably will be soon.”
Memo to Gruden: No one, not even you, should be ‘surprised’ that Kaepernick remains unsigned by an NFL team.
Not due to the fact that he knelt during the national anthem to protest social injustice and police brutality, but he’s got a pending lawsuit against league owners for collusion, which was filed last October by Kaepernick.
But if Gruden is truly that ‘surprised’ that Kaepernick isn’t on an NFL roster, my only question to him is: why haven’t the Raiders signed him?
It’s a good idea, right?
No one is saying that Kaepernick would overthrow Derek Carr as Oakland’s signal-caller in 2018, but Kaepernick is much better than E.J. Manuel and Josh Johnson combined.
Both Manuel and Johnson are on the Raiders roster.
Since being drafted by the 49ers in 2011 out of Nevada in the second round of the NFL draft, Kaepernick has thrown for 12,271 yards with 72 touchdowns and 30 interceptions while completing 59.8-percent of his passes in 58 career starts.
Manuel does have a career completion percentage of 58.1 to go along with 20 touchdowns and 16 interceptions in 18 starts (which includes one start for Oakland last season), while Johnson is 0-5 in his five career starts.
But Kaepernick would provide better insurance for Gruden and the Raiders in the event that Carr was injured than either Manuel or Johnson in my opinion. I know I’m not the only one that feels that way too.
It wasn’t too long ago that Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers’ starting quarterback in Super Bowl XLVII, was making defenses look foolish trying to tackle him in the open field with the dreaded read-option. In 2016, Kaepernick’s last season in the league, he was recovering from three surgeries when Gabbert beat him out for the starting the job.
But once he proved to be healthy, Kaepernick replaced Gabbert as San Francisco’s starting quarterback and posted a 92.6 passer rating in his final six starts of the season. Kaepernick threw for 2,241 yards with 16 touchdowns to just four interceptions with a 90.7 passer rating, but the 49ers were just 1-10 in his 11 starts as the team dealt with injuries and inconsistency along the offensive line.
San Francisco finished 2-14 that year.
After sitting out all of 2017, does Kaepernick even want to play football or continue to bring awareness to social injustice and police brutality in 2018? Kaepernick has already gone on record saying that he wouldn’t kneel during the national anthem if signed by an NFL team.
There was the internet video recently of Kaepernick working out in Houston throwing the football appearing to be in tremendous condition. Maybe there’s a chance that Kaepernick does play again in the NFL after.
But could it be in Silver and Black?
Gruden and the Raiders should give the idea some serious consideration.
The Philadelphia Eagles, who won Super Bowl LII, showed how important having a capable backup quarterback like Nick Foles on the roster was after losing franchise quarterback Carson Wentz late in the year with a torn ACL.
It’s good to have an insurance policy in case of emergencies, Oakland.