The Detroit Lions proved they're serious about making rookie quarterback Kellen Moore earn a roster spot on Thursday, signing R.J. Archer out of the Arena Football League to compete with Moore for the team's third-string job.
The Associated Press reported the move, which came even though the Lions had already bolstered the depth chart by signing Moore to a three-year deal. According to a source with knowledge of Moore's contract, he received a $20,000 signing bonus, tying for the largest paid by the Lions to an undrafted free agent this offseason.
Archer played his college ball at William & Mary and went undrafted in 2010. Signed by the Minnesota Vikings for their offseason program, Archer was released before training camp. Archer joined the Vikings' practice squad when injuries hit the team's quarterback position hard late in the 2010 season. Archer was added to the 53-man roster ahead of a Week 15 loss to the Chicago Bears, but did not dress and was released the following week. He most recently played for the AFL's Georgia Force.
Adding a camp arm makes sense for the Lions. Starter Matthew Stafford had a league-high 663 attempts last season and could use a break in camp and the preseason. Moore's impressive college career and signing bonus figure to give him an edge in the competition, however. Even if Moore were to struggle in the preseason, he has too much potential for the Lions to expose him to the waiver wire or use him on the practice squad.