The Raiders signed quarterbacks Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye last offseason when few teams were interested in their services. It's a safe bet the Raiders wish they would given them both multiyear contracts.
Gradkowski and Frye signed one-year contracts as potential backups to JaMarcus Russell. Their combined $1.15 million salary this season represented less than what Russell earned in three games.
As it turned out, coach Tom Cable felt more confident with Gradkowski and Frye on the field than he did with Russell. Hence, Russell was benched after nine games, with Gradkowski starting four and Frye set to make his third start Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.
Now, Gradkowski and Frye have re-established themselves as viable options for teams in need of a veteran quarterback.
"Anytime you've been released and you're looking for a job, you want to prove yourself if you get another opportunity," said Raiders passing game coordinator Ted Tollner. "What they showed is that they do belong in this league."
Gradkowski and Frye likely will be able to command more money this time around, especially if the Raiders or another team view them as a starting candidate.
Gradkowski said he is hopeful of getting another shot with a Raiders team that took a chance on him, when three other teams had given up on him within a year's time.
"Yeah, I want to be a Raider," Gradkowski said. "I know we'll make it happen and things will work out the way they should."
"He's complete, runs it tough, great, great vision, good acceleration, catches it extremely well," Cable said. "The thing that jumps out at you, that kind of shocks you a little bit, is how good a blocker he is. (He's) a very complete back."
Rice has combined for 1,952 yards rushing and receiving. Raiders running back Darren McFadden has combined for 593. The goal, Cable said, is to get McFadden to produce at a level comparable to Rice.
"You hope so, absolutely," Cable said. "Because they do so much with him, that really fits the mold of what to get to with Darren."