The Oakland Raiders were one of a handful of teams to lose their starting quarterback because of injury in 2016. Derek Carr‘s injury in Week 16 crippled the Raiders’ chances of making a Super Bowl run. Today the Raiders signed EJ Manuel, formerly of the Buffalo Bills to compete for a backup quarterback spot.

EJ Manuel was the backup in Buffalo to starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Manuel started just one game for the Bills in 2016, the final game of the season. In that game the Bills fell to AFC East rivals New York Jets 30-10, Manuel tossing no touchdowns and no interceptions. The Bills let rookie from Ohio State Cardale Jones play some in that game too, a player they expect to emerge as next season’s backup to the returning Tyrod Taylor.

Manuel has his work cut out for him when he gets to Oakland. He will have to fight for his spot on the team in training camp and in the preseason.

The Raiders already have a motivated backup to Derek Carr in Connor Cook. Cook was a rookie last season and was drafted in the fourth round after a sensational, school-record breaking career at Michigan State. Cook’s first career start in 2016 came in the Raiders’ first playoff appearance in 14 years. The Raiders fell to the AFC Champion Houston Texans 27-14, Cook having an ugly game completing 18 of 45 passes for 161 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.

At 6-foot-5 and weighing just under 240 pounds, EJ Manuel has the arm strength and physical tools necessary to play quarterback in the NFL. Manuel will be learning the offense under recently promoted offensive coordinator Todd Downing. Downing was the Bills quarterback coach in 2014 and he is familiar and has worked with Manuel in the past.

Michael Berns is Editor in Chief of He also contributes to college football writing: particularly covering the Illinois Fighting Illini and all things BigTen. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter –@MichaelBerms.

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