Undrafted quarterbacks will play key roles for some teams as they open practices.
Seattle is one of those teams.
The Seahawks, like the San Francisco 49ers, are expected to sign a starting-caliber quarterback in free agency. Veteran free agents signing new contracts for 2011 will not be eligible to practice until the league year begins Aug. 4, about one week before exhibition openers. Teams will want to hold practices before Aug. 4, of course, and they'll need quarterbacks to get them through those practices.
Rookies are eligible to begin practicing with their teams as soon as their teams are allowed to practice. Portis, from California University in Pennsylvania, will get reps for Seattle quickly.
Teams acquiring veteran quarterbacks by trade might also have to wait until Aug. 4 before letting those quarterbacks practice. That is because veterans renegotiating their contracts also cannot practice until Aug. 4. Those veterans could, in theory, wait until after Aug. 4 before reworking their deals.
Update: Another free-agent quarterback, Zac Lee, also plans to sign with Seattle, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.