The Las Vegas Raiders’ quarterback situation has changed dramatically over the past year.
Heading into last season, Derek Carr seemed to be on the outs with both the coaching staff and front office. A divorce of some sort felt inevitable. When the Raiders went out and signed Marcus Mariota to a two-year, $17.6 million contract, it seemed like the organization was investing in a pricey backup operating under the impression that he may at some point soon turn into the starter.
Then something odd happened: Carr experienced a resurgence of sorts.
Much to the bewilderment of many, he recorded 4,103 passing yards and a 101.4 passer rating in 2020 that ranked 10th best in the whole NFL.
Suddenly, the onus to move on from him diminished dramatically.
Even though Carr holds a $22.125 million salary cap number compared to Mariota’s $10.1 million, Las Vegas seems comfortable retaining him now.
That in turn has made Mariota expendable.
According to NFL insider Michael Lombardi of The Athletic, there is currently one very legitimate potential trade suitor out there for Mariota’s services: the Washington Football Team.
Will the Raiders be a playoff team in 2021?
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“I know there’s one team in the NFC East, the Washington Football Team, that’s extremely interested in Mariota,” he said during an appearance on Patrick Meagher’s show.
“Mariota’s problem is simply this: he’s due to make $10 million this year. If you trade for that contract and you make him your starter, that contract’s $20 million because he’s got so many incentives in that contract. So it’s going to be very challenging for you to trade for him without redoing that contract.”
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The Washington Football Team has needed a permanent fix at quarterback ever since Dwayne Haskins flamed out and proved himself incapable of being a legitimate starter at the NFL level.
Mariota could easily go to D.C. and experience a career revival not unlike what Ryan Tannehill encountered with the Tennessee Titans.
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If a deal with Washington can’t get sorted, Mariota has also been linked to a potential trade with one very prominent AFC East team that would love to have him.
Carr, meanwhile, will almost certainly remain in Las Vegas no matter what – unless this three-team Deshaun Watson deal magically comes back to life. If it doesn’t, then he will be the Raiders’ starting quarterback next year.
One way or another, it looks like Mariota’s days with the Raiders are numbered. Where he will ultimately ends up remains to be seen.