Pro Football Focus linked the Denver Broncos to a surprising free-agent quarterback. They recently released an article naming one free agent for each NFL team to pursue this offseason. Their target for the Broncos was quarterback Marcus Mariota:
We’re not necessarily suggesting the Broncos target Mariota to be their starter in 2022, but a backup quarterback who brings a different skill set and can be deployed in certain packages has proven to be a growing trend in the NFL the past few years.
Over the past two seasons with the Raiders, Mariota has 175 rushing yards on just 18 carries (9.7 yards per carry), 14 of which went for first downs. The Broncos don’t have to trade draft capital like they did to bring in Teddy Bridgewater and can have a serviceable option while they continue their quest to find the next franchise signal-caller.
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Marcus Mariota Could Be the Best Free Agent Value on the Market
Although Mariota is not the flashiest free-agent target, it’s hard to argue with the article’s reasoning. If the Broncos are unable to land Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson, Mariota would give the franchise some valuable insurance and flexibility.
This year’s free-agent class is thin at quarterback, as the top options are Teddy Bridgewater, Andy Dalton, Jameis Winston, and Tyrod Taylor.
The Broncos did not have much success with Bridgewater at quarterback last season, and he is reportedly seeking a contract worth $25 million per year, according to Benjamin Allbright of KOA Colorado. Andy Dalton signed a one-year deal worth $10 million with the Chicago Bears last offseason.
Meanwhile, Mariota signed a one-year deal worth only $3.5 million with the Las Vegas Raiders last offseason. The Broncos are unlikely to find a long-term starter in free agency, but they can add a solid, experienced veteran. Out of the options available, Mariota may be the best value.
Signing Mariota would give the Broncos a fallback option at quarterback while leaving them with plenty of cap room to address other needs on the roster.
Mariota’s Mobility Would Add a New Dimension to the Broncos’ Offense
The Broncos could hypothetically sign Mariota and draft a rookie quarterback. Mariota’s presence would alleviate any pressure on a rookie to start immediately.
Also, the Broncos could simply use Mariota as a backup quarterback, while occasionally utilizing him in goal line packages.
However, if the Broncos did elect to start Mariota, he would transform the offense in an interesting way.
Mariota is one of the best mobile quarterbacks in the league. Over his career, he has rushed for 1,574 yards and 13 touchdowns averaging 6.0 yards per carry.
In limited action with the Raiders this season, Mariota was still impressive in the open field. On this play against the Baltimore Ravens, Mariota was able to pick up over 30 yards on 3rd and 1:
His mobility would add a new dimension to the Broncos’ offense. With Javonte Williams at running back, the Broncos could play through the running game this season. Potential read options with Mariota and Williams would be exciting.