The Las Vegas Raiders could be undergoing some big changes this offseason. Quarterback could be an area where the team changes but Derek Carr will most likely be the starting quarterback when the season starts. He wasn’t perfect this season but was a big reason the team fought its way to the playoffs at the end of the year. He deserves to continue being the starting quarterback unless the Raiders want to swing a trade for a superstar like Russell Wilson.
The team wouldn’t admit this but Marcus Mariota was signed in 2020 to help push Carr and compete for the starting job, which is why they gave him $10 million and incentives on his contract. It quickly became clear that Carr was the superior quarterback and Mariota never really threatened his starting job. The Raiders started to use the former Heisman Trophy winner in more creative ways this season. He eventually became a dynamic weapon for the offense to use, even though they used him sparingly.
With a lot of teams needing quarterbacks this offseason, Mariota could land a starting job. Pro Football Focus believes that the Denver Broncos as a strong fit, even if the plan isn’t for him to start.
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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Mariota Should Have Suitors
The Broncos could make sense for Mariota if they think he’s better than Bridgewater. However, he’ll have options. The Washington Football Team, Carolina Panthers, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants and even more could be looking for new starters in the offseason. Mariota had some rough years with the Tennessee Titans but the Raiders give him a chance to get healthy over the last two years.
Perhaps he can regain the form that made him look like a future star. At worst, he’s a dynamic athlete and great leader. He should be a starter on some team in the NFL.
Should Raiders Try to Bring Mariota Back?
The Raiders are going to have a tough time bringing Mariota back if they want to. If Rich Bisaccia is retained as head coach, he’ll likely want him back. The Mariota package was sparingly used but effective. The Raiders would be wise to at least try to bring him back. Having a capable backup is increasingly important in the NFL. Mariota knows the team and personnel. There are not many better backup quarterbacks to have.
The problem for the Raiders is that Mariota is probably better than some starters around the NFL. He’s not going to get a massive payday but he’ll get more to start than he will as a backup to Carr. It’s highly unlikely he’s back in Las Vegas next season.