Mark Davis says that he would welcome Colin Kaepernick to the Las Vegas Raiders “with open arms.”
Meanwhile, the Raiders have Nick Mullens and Garrett Gilbert backing up quarterback Derek Carr.
The Raiders owner spoke about Kaepernick during an episode “Race in America: A Candid Conversation,” an NBC Sports production that touts itself as “hosting raw discussions with athletes, politicians, musicians and influencers on the fight for racial equality in America.” He made his comments on an episode that aired Wednesday night.
“I believe in Colin Kaepernick,” Davis said, per Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. “He deserves every chance in the world to become a quarterback in the National Football League. I still stand by it. If our coaches and general manager want to bring him in or want him to be the quarterback on this team, I would welcome him with open arms.”
Why isn’t Kaepernick in the NFL?
Kaepernick, 34, hasn’t played NFL football since 2016 with the San Francisco 49ers, effectively blackballed from the league because of his public protests of police brutality and racial injustice during the national anthem. The NFL has since shifted its public stance on pregame protests in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell declared in 2020 that “Black lives matter” and that “we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest.”
While the NFL changed its public stance, Kaepernick has remained without a football job. Meanwhile, he’s held multiple workouts, including a throwing exhibition at the University of Michigan’s spring football game on April 2 at the invitation of his former coach with the 49ers, Jim Harbaugh.
“I can help make you a better team,” Kaepernick said that day after his workout. “I can help you win games.
“I know right now, the situation likely won’t allow me to come in and step into a starting role. I know I’ll be able to work my way to that though and show that very quickly.”
While Davis says he’s open to Kaepernick joining the Raiders, he left the call with general manager Dave Ziegler and head coach Josh McDaniels. To be fair, this is ultimately a football decision, and football decisions belong with football people. Davis’ stance also conveniently shifts the responsibility of a scorching hot-button topic off of himself and onto the men that he employs.
How does Kaepernick stack up against Raiders backups?
Could Kaepernick help the Raiders? Here’s how he stacks up statistically against Mullens and Gilbert. Kaepernick played five-plus seasons with the 49ers, starting 58 of the 69 games he played in while leading the 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance in 2013.
For his career, Kaepernick’s averaged 177.8 passing yards per game while completing 59.8% of his passes with 72 touchdowns and 30 interceptions. He was also a threat on the ground, averaging 33.3 yards per game on 6.1 yards per carry with 13 rushing touchdowns.
In four seasons with the 49ers and Cleveland Browns, Mullens, 27, has started 17 of the 20 games he’s played in, averaging 243.1 passing yards per game while completing 64.6% of his passes, with 26 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. His career rushing total is -11 yards with two touchdowns.
Gilbert, 30, has seen limited action in his four-season NFL career, starting in two of the eight games he’s played in for four different teams. The Raiders are his fifth. In his two starts with the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Commanders, Gilbert completed 59.4% of his passes for 218.5 yards per game with a touchdown and an interception. He’s rushed six times for 25 yards in his career.
So should the Raiders give Kaepernick a look? Mark Davis says he’s down. But it sounds like that’s a question for McDaniels and Ziegler.