Jon Gruden has repeatedly denied that the Raiders are tanking, but it might be a little bit more difficult to do that in the wake of his latest signing. On Wednesday, ESPN.com's Adam Schefter reported that the Raiders will be signing former Buffalo Bills quarterback Nathan Peterman.
Former Bills' QB Nathan Peterman is signing with the Oakland Raiders, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 19, 2018
The initial report had large circles of the NFL internet incredulous, but subsequent reporting from NFL.com's Ian Rapoport indicated that Peterman will be signed to the practice squad, not the active roster.
Still, this is not exactly a banner signing. Peterman is essentially the worst quarterback in the history of the NFL, based on his performance on the field. As we wrote at the time he was:
Peterman had arguably the worst game in NFL history in his first start, getting intercepted five times in 14 pass attempts while throwing for only 66 yards. He was benched for (Tyrod) Taylor at halftime and Taylor resumed the starting job until getting injured later in the season. For the season, Peterman completed just 24 of 49 passes for 252 yards, two touchdowns, and the aforementioned five picks.
His Bills career ends with four starts, eight appearances, 68 completions on 130 passes (52.3 percent), 548 passing yards (4.2 per attempt), three touchdowns and 12 interceptions. His 32.5 passer rating is several points worse than it would have been if he had spiked the ball on every play. Among the 426 players who have thrown at least 125 passes in their NFL careers, that figure ranks 424th.
Peterman has been given several chances to play and start, and he has shown extraordinarily little ability to even resemble an NFL-caliber quarterback. He has often been so bad that the team had no choice but to remove him from the game to save him and themselves from further embarrassment.
Raiders coach Jon Gruden, however, has long been high on Peterman. "Peterman is ready to walk in and be a contributor from day one," Gruden wrote on ESPN.com before the 2017 NFL Draft. "He just looks like a pro quarterback -- coming out of the huddle, running an offense with different formations, shifting, motioning, different patterns that other colleges don't run. Peterman will recognize route combinations and associate formations."
"Most importantly, he will be able to get in a huddle from day one and look at 10 grown men and tell them where to go and what to do and handle a versatile snap count," Gruden continued.
It's perhaps true that Peterman was able to do that during his time in Buffalo, but most importantly, he was not able to throw the ball to his own team instead of the other team. Considering that -- and not looking the part or being able to talk in a huddle -- is a quarterback's primary job, it's difficult to see this signing working out. But this Raiders season has been filled with strange decisions, and this is just another in a long line.