Garcia signed to back up Russell

Garcia signed to back up Russell

It's a done deal. Jeff Garcia has signed with the Raiders and is set to join the team for their offseason workouts.

Garcia, who spent the past two seasons with Tampa Bay where he started 24 games, had been in negotiations with Oakland for some time with talks heating up over the weekend. Neither side made an official comment on the situation until Monday when Raiders spokesman John Herrera confirmed the signing to the Associated Press.

Garcia's agent, Steve Baker, declined to comment but two sources close to Garcia also confirmed the signing to SBI.

By adding a veteran quarterback like Garcia, the Raiders are setting themselves up both for the short term and long term.

In the short term, the 39-year-old Garcia gives the Raiders a quality backup should starter JaMarcus Russell get hurt. Russell sat out one game in 2008 while hurt. Walter and Tuiasosopo played in his place but neither was impressive enough to consider sticking with.

Tuiasosopo is a free agent while Walter could be cut loose soon. Oakland also claimed QB Bruce Gradkowski off waivers from Cleveland in February.

The other side of the equation is that the Raiders hope Garcia can serve as a mentor to the young QB. In Russell's two seasons with the Raiders, Oakland has had Andrew Walter, Marques Tuiasosopo, Josh McCown and Daunte Culpepper on the depth chart; with the exception of Walter, none stayed in Oakland more than a year, though Tuiasosopo had been with the team prior to the Raiders drafting Russell.

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