After bringing in the 34-year-old free-agent quarterback for a workout Wednesday that reportedly impressed the Raiders, the coach stressed that the team still belongs to Carr.
“I think Derek’s pretty comfortable with where he’s at,” McDaniels told reporters on Thursday. “I think he knows who he is for us and I know he knows how I feel about him, how we feel about him. I don’t think that’s really a big thing to Derek at this point.”
Carr, 31, signed a three-year, $ 121.5 million extension this year, and he remains entrenched as the team’s starting quarterback. The Raiders were reportedly looking to see if Kaepernick would be a good fit in a quarterback room that also includes Jarrett Stidham and Nick Mullens.
“I think he knows this is his football team, and he’s working like it on the field, and he’s leading the way that we want him to lead, and he’s doing all the right things,” McDaniels added. “I couldn’t ask more from Derek Carr and very pleased with what he’s doing so far.”
After Jon Gruden stepped down as coach of the Raiders in the middle of last season, Carr still managed to lead the team to the playoffs in one of the toughest divisions in the NFL.
The three-time Pro Bowler had career highs in both passing yards (4,804) and interceptions (14) in 17 games last season. He also threw 23 touchdowns and led the team to a 10-7 record before losing to the eventual AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals in the Wild Card round.
McDaniels declined to say Thursday if the team would be signing Kaepernick, who last played in the NFL in 2016, the same year he started kneeling during the national anthem in protest of racial injustice.
The coach noted during his press conference that he wouldn’t be taking questions about players that currently aren’t on the team.
“We’ve brought in tons of people for workouts,” McDaniels said. “We said it from day one that we would look at every opportunity, and he’s not the first player that we looked at and not the last one.”
“So there’s gonna be a lot of people that are gonna come in and out of this building and have an opportunity to make an impression,” the coach added. “The evaluations we make are kind of private for us and if we make a decision to add someone to the team then we’ll do it.”
Kaepernick stated in a podcast interview last month that he “absolutely” wants to play in the league again and was even willing to return to the league as a backup quarterback if that helps his comeback chances.
While Carr didn’t speak Thursday, other players, including defensive end Maxx Crosby, were asked about the team bringing in Kaepernick for a workout.
“Honestly, I don’t know much about that,” Crosby told reporters. “I’m worried about the guys that are here right now, so that’s really all I have on that.”