Heading into the NFL offseason there was an expectation that Marcus Mariota would command a decent amount of suitors.
The Las Vegas Raiders backup was never quite able to steal the starting job away from Derek Carr the way many anticipated he would, but that was far more the byproduct of Carr exceeding expectations than anything else.
Carr recorded 4,103 passing yards and a 101.4 passer rating that ranked 10th best in the NFL this past season. That made Mariota expendable.
Early on, there seemed to be two surefire potential wooers for Mariota, one from the NFC East and one from the AFC East. And yet as the days turned into weeks, nothing happened.
Thus far, nobody has really made a move for Mariota.
This week NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport appeared on NFL Now and reported that the market for Mariota had “dried up significantly” over one unfortunate red flag: his contract.
From NFL Now: #Raiders QB Marcus Mariota has generated a lot of interest from teams, but the max value of his contract has been an issue for teams. Trade talk has slowed considerably. Could he be eventually released? pic.twitter.com/pPlwOSS3Yk
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 24, 2021
“A couple of days ago, it really seemed like Marcus Mariota was going to be on the move,” Rapoport said.
“I know teams were interested, were calling the Las Vegas Raiders about potentially acquiring Marcus Mariota. Things did get down the line a little bit. There is significant interest in teams trying to get Marcus Mariota … but there is an issue. Take a look at his contract. He’s due a little more than $10 million this year. If he’s going to be a bridge starter, which would be the role he’d come in and play, that’s not bad. That’s actually not the issue.
“The issue is based on incentives. If he is the starter and ends up playing the entire season, he can make an additional $12 million, so more than $20 million for Marcus Mariota. Teams, as of right now, don’t seem to think that’s something that would be worth it, especially when you consider they’d also give up a draft pick to trade for him. That trade market has now dried up significantly.”
Obviously the offseason is still young. Once a few more dominos drop, demand for Mariota may pick back up. If Deshaun Watson gets traded, the two teams who lose out on him may have some interest in the 27-year-old. Along the same lines, once the Justin Fields brouhaha sorts itself out, whichever team determines he isn’t worth the risk may call up Mariota. There are a lot of possibilities out there.
That said, the fact that interest in him has completely nosedived in such a short amount of time is no doubt a bit unsettling for Mariota. Hopefully his future will ultimately get sorted out sooner rather than later.
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