The Oakland Raiders signed veteran back up and former USC Trojan Matt Leinart to a contract this week, making him the fourth quarterback on the Oakland Raiders roster. With Carson Palmer clearly the starter and Rhett Bomar clearly a camp arm, the only question that remains with regards to the Leinart signing, is what it means for the guy that the Raiders used a third round pick on in the 2011 supplementary draft. Most agree that a team expects a third round pick to be ready to back up, if not push for a starting spot by their second season. Instead, the Raiders have brought in Leinard to compete with Terrelle Pryor.
One could easily see the signing of Matt Leinart as an indictment on the future of Terrelle Pryor as an NFL quarterback. However, when you take all of the facts into consideration, there is really only one conclusion that can be drawn from the signing, that is the conclusion that Terrelle Pryor is simply not ready to be an NFL back up. Last season, the Raiders experienced first hand how important it is to have a back up who is ready to lead a team at the drop of a dime. Considering Terrelle Pryor's serious lack of playing time in the NFL (he has never even played in the pre-season), it is not surprising that the Raiders did not want to rely on him in a pinch.
Matt Leinart, on the other hand, makes a ton of sense as a back up. He played under the Raiders new offensive coordinator Greg Knapp in Houston last season, meaning he can hit the ground running with the Raiders offense, spending his time building a rapport with his new receivers instead of spending time trying to learn a new offense. In addition to his relationship with Knapp, Leinart also has a relationship with Carson Palmer. Both are USC alums and Leinart was Palmer's back up early in his career at USC.
The signing gives the Raiders a back up that they would be confident sending into the game on little to no notice should Palmer get injured while also adding another NFL veteran to the squad for Pryor to learn from. This is the year that Pryor will need to show the Raides coaching staff that he is capable of being an NFL quarterback. If after this season, the Raiders are not comfortable with him being the number two man, then the Raider Nation should start worrying about whether or not Pryor is capable of playing quarterback in the NFL or if he should be moved to another position.