The Green Bay Packers have made it clear they’re out on Aaron Rodgers, though big decisions at the quarterback position won’t end once he is traded.
The Packers are on the cusp of becoming Jordan Love’s team but his exceedingly limited sample size of minutes in meaningful games poses at least as many questions as it does answers about exactly what Green Bay has under center with the first-year starter entering the fourth season of his NFL career. A steady and proven backup is a critical piece the Packers must add this offseason and a handful of suitable options exist.
Among the best and most experienced of those options is Marcus Mariota, who has a close history with Packers head coach Matt LaFleur.
“When Packers coach Matt LaFleur was offensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans in 2018, Mariota went 7-6 as the starter and ranked among the NFL leaders with a 68.9 percent completion rate,” Bill Huber of Sports Illustrated wrote on March 8. “A bust as the second pick of the 2015 draft? Sure, but he’s got about 2,100 passing attempts of experience to draw upon.”
Mariota’s Experience, Dual-Threat Quality Make Him Fit With Packers
The Atlanta Falcons released Mariota on February 28 after a one-year experiment in which he started 13 games for the franchise. Mariota has started a total of 74 games in his professional tenure and has produced a regular season win/loss record of 34-40.
Before his time in Atlanta, Mariota spent two seasons backing up Derek Carr with the Las Vegas Raiders. He played five years in Tennessee to begin his career. Mariota has completed 62.6 percent of his passes, throwing for a total of 15,656 yards, 94 touchdowns and 52 interceptions, per Pro Football Reference.
He has also proven a competent rusher of the football, amassing 2,012 yards and 17 touchdowns on 349 career attempts. Mariota produced his most prolific season on the ground in 2022, posting career highs in carries (85) and yards (438), while also scoring four times.
Despite nearly a decade in the NFL, Mariota won’t turn 30 years old until the end of October. He signed a two-year deal worth $18.75 million with the Falcons last March.
Love is Packers’ Future at Quarterback For at Least Next 2 Seasons
Locking up a player like Mariota for two years is the most logical course for Green Bay considering the remaining life of Love’s contract.
Drafted in the first round in 2020, the team had the right this offseason to pick up a fifth-year option on Love’s contract, which it did. Love will count close to $4 million against the salary cap in 2023 before his option year bounces his salary up to $20.27 million in 2024.
Dealing Rodgers affords the Packers a two-year window to see what they have in Love and make a decision about the long-term future of the position moving forward. News on a potential Rodgers trade to the New York Jets, or possibly a different franchise, is expected to come within the next few days.