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Could Jon Gruden be targeting Colin Kaepernick?

Ed Szczepanski, USA Today Sports

The Oakland Raiders have a quarterback in Derek Carr they believe in, but there’s no doubt Jon Gruden needs an upgrade at the backup spot. And according to Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, there’s a chance Colin Kaepernick could be the answer.

“Yes, I do believe Marquette King will give up his jersey number when Kaepernick comes aboard as the backup to Derek Carr,” Ostler wrote. “But the number on the jersey is not important. What is important is that the Raiders need an upgrade at backup quarterback, and Kaepernick is the best option, and he is a phone call away.”

Now, it’s important to note Ostler isn’t saying he’s heard from any sources on this. He’s just connecting the dots. Furthermore, he also made it clear there could be some obstacles standing in the way of Kaepernick signing in Oakland. Namely, Mark Davis reportedly isn’t a big fan of the kneeling protest Kaepernick started, and that the big-money people in Las Vegas have made it clear they don’t want Kaepernick in the picture.

Still, Ostler believes it will happen because Gruden is in charge of the roster and “almost certainly believes he can harness and exploit Kaepernick’s formidable — but unconventional — quarterback skill set.”

Going way back to when Kaepernick came into the league, Gruden has gushed over the quarterback’s skill set. However, more recently, as of September of 2017, he seemed to take a different view, speaking with UPROXX.

“Kaepernick was the quarterback of a 2-14 team and people forget — Kaepernick couldn’t beat out Blaine Gabbert. Blaine Gabbert won the job to start the season. So performance was lacking. Maybe style of play, maybe team’s aren’t wanting to go that route right now. All the other issues are for other guys to talk about, I really don’t even go there.”

There’s going to be some buzz surrounding Kaepernick all throughout the offseason, whether he signs with a team or not. It’s going to be very interesting to see if NFL teams continue to avoid him like the plague or end up turning to a guy who has taken a team to a Super Bowl and has put up darn good numbers in the process.

It’s worth noting that, despite sitting out the entire 2017 season, Kaepernick remains one of the most popular players in the NFL. Per SNIPdaily’s data, he was the second-most talked-about player in the entire league last year, right behind Tom Brady.