It’s been a long process but it appears the Las Vegas Raiders and Marcus Mariota have come to a mutual agreement. There’s been talk of the team trying to trade the quarterback for weeks but nothing has happened mostly due to his bloated contract. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Mariota has agreed to rework his contract.
Instead of making over $10 million next season, the quarterback will now make $3.5 million that could go up to $8 million with incentives.
The Raiders certainly played hardball with Mariota. They could’ve outright released him with no penalty. Had they done that prior to free agency, Mariota almost certainly would’ve landed a starting job with a quarterback-needy team. Las Vegas didn’t want to do that because it’s important to have a good backup, as the team learned last season. Derek Carr isn’t fragile and has only missed two regular-season starts throughout his career. However, he missed a third start but that was in the playoffs in 2016. The Raiders didn’t even compete in that game because of their weak backup quarterback situation. Having Mariota gives the team a chance to win if Carr misses any period of time.
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Mariota Still Tradable
Based on all the effort the Raiders went through to rework Mariota’s contract, it’s likely that he’ll stick around for the season. That said, things can change really quickly in the NFL. Perhaps the Chicago Bears or Washington Football Team realize that they are unhappy with their quarterback situation. That could open up an opportunity for the Raiders to make a trade. Rapoport noted that Mariota is still tradable.
Now that his price tag is significantly lower, he could be worth a bigger haul for Las Vegas. If the Raiders can get a third-round pick in trade for Mariota, they might make that deal. That’d be a pretty solid return for a player that is only supposed to be a backup. Nothing will likely happen anytime soon but the situation could change as the offseason goes on, which could make Mariota very valuable in the future.
Do Raiders Have Plans for Mariota?
It’s interesting that the Raiders were so content on keeping Mariota around. In a perfect world, he’d never even see the field. Las Vegas is confident in Derek Carr as the starting quarterback. As previously noted, he doesn’t really get injured. This would mean that Mariota is highly unlikely to take snaps at quarterback.
However, the Raiders could get creative with Mariota. Due to injuries, he didn’t really get a lot of good reps with the team last season. That could’ve played a role in why he didn’t see the field outside of when he took over for an injured Carr. It’s entirely possible that Jon Gruden has plans to use Mariota in a number of ways. He’s a playmaker in a number of ways. Gruden could want to use him in a way that is similar to how the New Orleans Saints use Taysom Hill. That would certainly make Mariota more valuable to the Raiders.