In the annals of NFL history, few players have had quite the career as a starting quarterback as Jake Luton. He spent three games filling in for Gardner Minshew as a rookie with Jacksonville in 2020 and got off to a cracking start—304 yards in the air, one passing touchdown, one rushing touchdown. By his third start, though, things had changed. Luton went for 151 yards on 16-for-37 passing, with four interceptions and no touchdowns.
Luton was benched, and he has not been seen on a regular-season field since. He has, though, made a tour of the league’s practice squads, spending stints with the Seahawks, Dolphins, Jaguars (again) and Saints. He was with the Panthers during training camp before the team waived him last week.
Now a free agent, Luton was one of four free agents the Raiders brought in for a workout on Monday, September 4. The others were all receivers: Jalen Camp, another former Jaguar, plus John Hightower and Thyrick Pitts, according to reporter Aaron Wilson.
Raiders Seem Set at WR, QB
Hard to figure how serious the Raiders are about signing any of those players, considering the team is already carrying three quarterbacks and, for all its weaknesses in other areas, are considered to have one of the top wide receiver groups in the NFL—on the list of Pro Football Focus’ unit rankings, the Raiders receivers were eighth in the league.
None of the receivers the team worked out have much experience in the NFL. Hightower has the most, having played in 13 games, including four starts, as a rookie in 2020 with the Eagles. He caught 10 passes for 167 yards.
Luton could latch on as a fourth quarterback, operating with the practice squad, behind starter Jimmy Garoppolo, backup Brian Hoyer and third-string preseason sensation Aidan O’Connell. Considering Garoppolo’s injury history—he missed 18 games in the last three seasons—it could be wise for the Raiders to at least have a fourth quarterback on speed dial, if not on the practice squad.
Raiders Bring Back Hroniss Grasu
Also on Monday, the Raiders made a roster move, bringing back former player Hroniss Grasu with a spot on the practice squad. He was released a week ago, and offensive lineman Vitaliy Gurman was axed this time to make room for Grasu, a former third-round pick of the Chicago Bears, who chose him in 2015.
Grasu has been kicking around the NFL ranks for nearly a decade, and has managed to appear in 31 games in eight years. In addition to his football career, he is better known by some as the fiancé of WNBA star Sabrina Ionescu, who plays for the New York Liberty. The pair both went to Oregon, and are slated to get married later this year.
It does make a bit more sense for the Raiders to be adding players on the offensive line than at receiver or quarterback. In the PFF annual preseason rankings, Las Vegas came in at just 19th in the league along the line, which was nine sports below where it had been last season.
Sean Deveney is a Heavy editor with a focus on the NBA and basketball in general. He has covered the league on a national basis for 20 years and has interviewed stars from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jerry West to Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant to LeBron James and Kevin Durant. He is the author of seven nonfiction books, including “Fun City,” “Before Wrigley became Wrigley,” and “Facing Michael Jordan.” More about Sean Deveney
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