Titans QB Makes List of Potential Eagles Signings in Free Agency

Marcus Mariota contract details Chicago Bears

Getty Quarterback Marcus Mariota #8 of the Tennessee Titans will bee a free agent in 2020. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The backup quarterback job in Philadelphia is one of the flashiest in football. And, for better or worse, the Eagles are hiring.

Playing second fiddle to Carson Wentz has been vogue since 2017 when Nick Foles made it popular. But the backup role in Philly has been fashionable for almost two decades, going back to when Randall Cunningham was behind Ron Jaworski and when A.J. Feeley filled in for Donovan McNabb.

Wentz has added a new wrinkle after earning the dreaded “injury-prone” status. Head coach Doug Pederson has been deliberate with his approach to selecting quarterbacks, mostly bringing in veterans like Foles and Josh McCown.

One of the biggest question marks heading into the 2020 football season is what to do behind Wentz? Nate Sudfeld is likely gone in free agency and McCown is already pursuing greener pastures.

That leaves the Eagles to sift through one of the deepest free-agent classes of veteran quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. Sitting out there are guys like Philip Rivers, Tom Brady, Jameis Winston, Case Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater, Andy Dalton … and, wait for it, Marcus Mariota.

Yes, the same Mariota that almost came to the Eagles as part of a draft-day trade in 2015. Chip Kelly loved his former student at Oregon but ultimately they couldn’t mortgage the future by trading up to get him. Now the team could be poised for the partnership that was long rumored and never consummated. (On a side note, the Eagles did draft Nelson Agholor that year).

Mariota to Eagles, per Pro Football Focus

Per Pro Football Focus, Philadelphia would be the perfect landing spot for Marcus Mariota in free agency. Here’s what they wrote:

The only opportunity for Marcus Mariota to reclaim a starting spot is with the Chicago Bears, but with them rolling with a duel between Trubisky and Dalton, he’ll be searching for a backup role somewhere. The Philadelphia Eagles need one pretty badly given Carson Wentz‘sinjury history.

Mariota has been consistently average to below average as a passer throughout his career, ranking as high as 16th in passing grade and as low as 28th. His lack of production from a clean pocket is perhaps the biggest red flag for his NFL future. The only other quarterback to record a lower passing grade from a clean pocket since 2015 is Trubisky. He’s not going to make plays outside the pocket with his arm, but he can with his scrambling. Mariota’s two most successful years in the NFL came in 2017 and in 2018 when his rushing grade ranked in the top five in each season.

Remember, Mariota was replaced as the starting quarterback last year in Tennessee by Ryan Tannehill. He lost the job after going 7-of-18 for 63 yards in a shutout loss to Denver. Now, the Titans are considering locking Tannehill up to a long-term deal. Go figure.

That leaves Mariota out of work and looking like an attractive option as a backup. Still only 26 years old — he’ll turn 27 at the end of October — Mariota would be a perfect fit in running Doug Pederson’s RPO-heavy schemes. He has thrown for 13,207 yards while completing 62.9-percent of his passes over five seasons, all in Tennessee. He’s been particularly good at protecting the football, with 76 touchdowns against 44 interceptions.

While Mariota has hinted at the fact he wants to start again, this could be the best way for the former No. 2 overall pick to rebuild his reputation and shed the bust label. The Eagles should make a strong play for Mariota if the Titans do indeed cut ties with him. They could do a lot worse.

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