With so many quarterbacks expected to switch teams this offseason, there is suddenly a strong market for Marcus Mariota. Despite not starting a single game for the Raiders in 2020, he is healthy once again and is on a very reasonable contract.
Teams searching for a cheap, proven and athletic quarterback will likely be blowing up the phones for Mariota. The Raiders are likely to move him because they already have the franchise quarterback in place, it would free up cap space and they could acquire another draft choice.
But what team would make the most sense for Mariota? One potential destination is New England. One of the most plugged-in members of the Patriots’ media is Mike Reiss of ESPN.com and he believes they could be the ideal match. In a recent article, he wrote why Mariota to New England would make a lot of sense, assuming Jimmy Garoppolo doesn’t become available in San Fransisco.
“With the projected cost to acquire him (later-round pick) and his salary ($10.6 million) reasonable, it would mean New England has flexibility to add another QB should the opportunity present itself later in the offseason (e.g. Garoppolo or a draft pick). But at least initially, Mariota would provide a combination of NFL experience (61 starts), a chance for a functional passing game, and potential high upside as the Patriots start to use their abundant cap space to put some important pieces in place around the QB spot. I’m warming up to the Mariota idea as a strong Plan B if Garoppolo isn’t initially available.”
New England does feel like a reasonable destination for Mariota given his strengths as a quarterback. He is very accurate in the short to intermediate parts of the field and can make enough plays with his legs to bail out a bad offensive line.
If the Patriots don’t wind up acquiring Mariota, don’t be surprised if a team like the Bears or Washington Football Team ends up making a move for the former Heisman Trophy winner. Despite being a backup last season, look for Mariota to be a Week 1 starter somewhere in 2021.