It may not be Tom Brady, but the Las Vegas Raiders appear to be adding a quarterback very soon. According to Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the team is “closing in” on a deal with former Tennesee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota.
The former number two overall pick looked good at the start of his career but kept regressing until things got so bad that the Titans had to bench him for Ryan Tannehill. As Garafolo points out, Raiders general manager Mike Mayock was very high on Mariota when he was coming out of college. Jon Gruden also was. Though the quarterback has fallen on hard times, it appears the Raiders brass still thinks he has some upside.
UPDATE: The Raiders have come to terms with Mariota, per Vincent Bonsignore.
What Does This Mean for Derek Carr?
If signing Mariota is the only move the Raiders make at quarterback this offseason, Derek Carr will be the starter heading into the season. Mariota will definitely provide some competition, but he’s not as good as Carr and it will take him time to learn the offense. Adding the former Heisman Trophy winner is an intriguing move as he still has time to turn things around and Gruden will love having his athletic ability.
That said, Carr shouldn’t worry too much. Mariota appears to be set to compete for a backup role at quarterback. The Raiders aren’t about to trade Carr and bank on Mariota being the starter in 2020. However, it does provide the team better depth than they had last year. In relief of Carr at brief points last year, Mike Glennon looked really bad. Mariota will at the very least bring athletism that’s long been absent from the Raiders’ quarterback room.
Follow the Heavy Las Vegas Raiders page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
What About Tom Brady?
Signing Mariota shouldn’t cause any issues if the Raiders are trying to sign Tom Brady. He’s not going to get a big payday with Las Vegas, so the team will still have plenty of room for a potential Brady contract. Brady to the Raiders rumors have significantly cooled down, but according to Vic Tafur of The Athletic, the silver and black still have a chance to cut a deal:
The Raiders are still alive on Brady, but the former Patriots quarterback has the Buccaneers and possibly the Chargers ahead of them in line. Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians was making the hard sell to Brady most of Monday morning, as league sources still think that the odds of him returning to New England are not very high.
Brady has kept his whole free-agency process close to the vest, and if he called the Raiders and said he was interested, things would indeed accelerate quickly.
It’s starting to sound like a long shot, but it’s possible Brady calls Las Vegas home in 2020. However, if Mariota signs, that means the Raiders could be out of the Brady sweepstakes. If the future Hall of Famer is the quarterback, Mariota has almost no shot of competing for a starting spot. However, he could think that going up against Carr could improve his odds of playing in 2020. It should be very interesting to see play out.