It marked Kaepernick’s first workout with an NFL team since being exiled, and it was the first time the former star quarterback visited with a team since he flew to Seattle to meet with the Seahawks in May 2017 before they passed on the opportunity to sign him.
Raiders owner Mark Davis is following in the spirit of his late father, Al Davis, who provided many opportunities, such as hiring the NFL’s first Black head coach (Art Shell) and its first woman chief executive (Amy Trask) in the modern era. He also was the first owner to draft a Black quarterback in the first round and the second owner to hire a Hispanic head coach, Tom Flores.
Mark Davis told ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez in June 2020 that he would give his “blessing” if the Raiders’ front office or coaches wanted to add Kaepernick.
Kaepernick, 34 years old, was once one of the most dynamic players in the league. He beat defenses with both his arms and legs as he rose to stardom. His play had also declined toward the end of his tenure with San Francisco, though, after suffering various injuries and playing on a depleted roster.
In his last season with San Francisco, however, the 49ers went just 1-10 in his starts. While it was clear he hadn’t played up to the level that he had in the past, the years since also demonstrated that quarterbacks with far weaker statistical track records had been offered jobs while he hadn’t.
“I know I have to find my way back in,” Kaepernick said. “So, yeah, if I have to come in as a backup, that fine. But that’s not where I’m staying. And when I prove that I’m a starter, I want to be able to step on the field as such.”
He’s most likely not going to supplant Carr, who just received a new contract with the Raiders. But if, after the workout, the sky doesn’t fall and the NFL world keeps spinning, maybe another team will be willing to give him a workout. And another. And maybe he’ll get a roster spot. And maybe he’ll prove to be the best option for a team like, say, the Seahawks or the Panthers or someone else who doesn’t currently have a high-end quarterback.
Regardless, this is the first actual workout Kaepernick has gotten since become a free agent in March 2017. After all this time, all those months. He’s finally getting a chance.