The Las Vegas Raiders came into the 2021 season with one of the best quarterback situations in the NFL. Derek Carr is a top-15 starter in the league and has arguably the best backup in Marcus Mariota. Nathan Peterman also has to be considered one of the better third-string quarterbacks around.
However, the Raiders’ depth at the position is starting to be tested early in the season. Mariota is on injured reserve, which will keep him out for at least two more games. Carr is tough and durable but did get an injury scare on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. With that in mind, the team decided it would be best to find a temporary replacement for Mariota.
The Raiders announced on Monday that they’ve signed veteran quarterback Kyle Sloter to the practice squad.
The most notable thing about Sloter is his size. The 27-year-old is 6-foot-5 and 218 pounds. He actually spent some of the offseason with the Raiders prior to the draft. He was cut before training camp but he should at least have a base-level understanding of Jon Gruden’s offense.
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Sloter Has Shined in the Preseason Before
The Raiders are the sixth team that Sloter is playing with, including the Denver Broncos where he was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2017. As a rookie, he lit up his first preseason. He completed 31 of 43 passes for 413 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions that year. Despite that, the Broncos cut him. He eventually made his way to the Minnesota Vikings and even spent some time on the active roster.
Sloter has yet to play in a regular-season game and Gruden would prefer if that didn’t change. The coach had a chance to address the signing.
“He’s had some good preseason moments, he’s a talented young player,” Gruden said of Sloter on Monday.
With some injury concerns becoming real, Gruden didn’t like the fact that Peterman was taking all the scout team reps in practice. He plans for Sloter to take on that responsibility.
“We have to be smart,” Gruden said. “Sloter will be a quick study. He’s a smart guy and he’ll take a lot of the scout team reps that Nate [Peterman] won’t take now.”
Will Sloter Stick Around When Mariota Returns?
Once it was clear that Mariota would be out for a while, it was just a matter of time before the Raiders signed a replacement. However, Sloter is on the practice squad and not on the active roster. It should stay that way as long as Carr and Peterman stay healthy.
This does bring up a recurring issue regarding Mariota. The former No. 2 overall draft pick simply can’t stay healthy. He spent time on the injured reserve last season and is doing it again this season. He’s clearly a dynamic playmaker when healthy, but his body keeps breaking down. Even when Mariota comes back, the Raiders could consider keeping Sloter on the practice squad. It’s hard to know if the quarterback will stay healthy so it’s never a bad idea to have some insurance.