EJ Manuel Signs Contract with Raiders After 4 Seasons with Bills

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured Columnist

ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 18:  EJ Manuel #3 of the Buffalo Bills warms up before the game against the Cleveland Browns on December 18, 2016 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York. Buffalo defeats Cleveland 33-13.  (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

EJ Manuel's time with the Buffalo Bills was defined by inconsistencies, but he'll try to turn things around with the Oakland Raiders, who announced Monday they signed the 2013 first-round pick.

On Wednesday, NFL.com's Mike Garafolo tweeted: "Manuel's deal with the Raiders: one year, $800k, no guaranteed money."

Fox Sports' Peter Schrager first reported March 16 the two sides were working on a one-year "low-cost deal." Manuel is now primed to take over as Oakland's backup for Matt McGloin. 

Manuel told Eddie Paskal of the team's official site Raiders offensive coordinator Todd Downing was a big reason he chose to sign with Oakland. Downing was the Bills' quarterbacks coach in 2014.

Manuel was installed as Buffalo's starting quarterback during the 2013 season. The Florida State product proceeded to make 10 appearances, during which he completed 58.8 percent of his passes for 1,972 yards, 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions. 

Manuel returned to his post under center at the beginning of the 2014 season, but he made all of four starts before he was benched in favor of Kyle Orton. 

From that point forward, Manuel was never able to reclaim the starting gig. Tyrod Taylor burst on the scene during the 2015 preseason, and he didn't relinquish control of the No. 1 job. 

Manuel was tabbed as the Bills' Week 17 starter this past season after they were eliminated from postseason contention, but his numbers were hardly encouraging. In a 30-10 loss to the New York Jets, Manuel completed 9-of-20 passes for 86 yards. 

But despite those struggles, Manuel told reporters in December that he believes he's made strides over the past year. 

"I think coverage recognition is probably night and day," Manuel said, per Chris Brown of the Bills' official website. "It’s much better. It was an area where I felt I needed to grow from a year ago. Going against our first team defense every day the past 15 or 16 weeks has helped me out tremendously. That’s probably the biggest thing."

At 6'5'' and 237 pounds, Manuel has the physical traits necessary to stand in the pocket and sling the ball.

However, he'll need to prove his decision-making has evolved if he hopes to carve out a long-term role as Derek Carr's backup. 


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