Lemon still a free agent

FOXBOROUGH - Opting for more experience behind Tom Brady, the Patriots shook up their quarterback depth chart last night by signing former Raiders quarterback Andrew Walter, who is entering his fifth NFL season.

The team released third-year signal-caller Matt Gutierrez, who was projected as the No. 3 option behind 2008 third-round draft choice Kevin O'Connell.

The Patriots chose Walter over veteran Cleo Lemon, whom they worked out Friday. The former ASU quarterback was rumored to join the team after working out last week.

Walter (6 feet 6 inches, 230 pounds) spent the last four seasons in Oakland, and has started nine of 15 games in which he's appeared, completing 174 of 333 passes for 1,919 yards and three touchdowns.

In New England, he will challenge for the No. 2 or 3 role. The Patriots also have rookie free agent Brian Hoyer (Michigan State) on the roster.

A third-round draft choice out of Arizona State in 2005, Walter spent his rookie season as the third quarterback, before starting eight games the following season. After the Raiders drafted JaMarcus Russell with the No. 1 overall pick in 2007, Walter's days as a starter were numbered, and he saw action in just three games the last two seasons (one start).

The Raiders, who added veteran Jeff Garcia in the offseason, released Walter July 30.

The 6-4, 230-pound Gutierrez had been with the Patriots since 2007, when he made the club as a surprising rookie free agent. Gutierrez was released at the end of 2008 training camp, but returned after the first week of the season, following Brady's injury.