EJ Manuel, the Buffalo Bills’ first-round pick in 2013, has officially signed with the Oakland Raiders. In Oakland, Manuel is expected to compete with Connor Cook for the No. 2 job behind starter Derek Carr.
The 16th overall pick in the 2013 draft, Manuel struggled early on in his career, eventually being replaced by Tyrod Taylor. Having only started 17 games in his four-year career, Manuel didn’t have the tape to sign with a new team as a starting quarterback. The former Florida State quarterback has thrown 19 career touchdowns with 15 interceptions and 11 fumbles (five lost).
Manuel didn’t do much with a few limited opportunities in 2016. The quarterback ended the year with 11 completions on 26 attempts without a single touchdown or interception. However, Manuel did take three sacks and lost a fumble.
Joining the Raiders reunites Manuel and former Bills quarterbacks coach (now Oakland’s offensive coordinator) Todd Downing. Downing constantly backed up Manuel during his days in Buffalo, so perhaps it was this relationship that sparked the quarterback’s interest in signing with Oakland.
Having Manuel around makes sense for Oakland, as the Raiders struggled with Cook at the helm against the Houston Texans in last year’s playoff matchup. While Manuel doesn’t have any playoff experience, he does offer familiarity with the system. Backup quarterback was the Raiders’ one big need heading into this offseason, but now it appears Oakland has found the guy who could fill that role.