Early in the offseason, there was much talk about Marcus Mariota possibly getting traded to be a starting quarterback elsewhere. The problem was that the Las Vegas Raiders gave him way too big of a contract. The team was set to pay him $10 million this season just sit on the bench. Had he gotten traded and became a starter, he could’ve made in excess of $20 million based on incentives.
No team was willing to pay that price and the Raiders love having Mariota as a backup quarterback so they waited out free agency until he was willing to restructure his contract. While he obviously would’ve preferred to make the money he was originally owed, he was happy to stay in Las Vegas. He recently had a chance to go into detail about why he decided to accept a restructured contract.
“To wake up and know the area,” Mariota said of re-signing on the Raiders podcast. “You’re not waking up in a new city. You’re not learning a new system. For me, that’s been quite the joy. I’ve been kind of a part of a lot of turnovers in my career. To have some stability has been nice for me.”
When Mariota was in Tennessee, he was never able to live up to his draft status as the No. 2 overall pick. He’s dealt with a lot of injuries throughout his career and the Raiders have given him the chance to get healthy while learning from Jon Gruden, who is a respected offensive mind.
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Mariota Is a Fan of the Raiders’ Coaching Staff
During his time in Tennessee, Mariota had three different head coaches in Ken Whisenhunt, Mike Mularkey and Mike Vrabel. There wasn’t a lot of stability there as the quarterback noted. Though he doesn’t get to see the field often, he really enjoys being a part of the Raiders.
“I felt with this staff, with this quarterback room that I could become the best of my abilities,” Mariota said. “I really learned a lot, I’ve really absorbed a lot over the last couple of years. To just be around these guys to see the high level of play from Derek [Carr], for me, has been a learning experience.”
Mariota is good enough to be a starter for a number of teams and will likely find a starting job next season when he hits free agency. The Raiders have helped develop as a quarterback and that was evident in the brief action he saw last season against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Mariota Learning to Cope With Injury Issues
There was a point when Mariota looked like a future superstar. He finished his second season in the NFL with 26 touchdowns to just nine interceptions. However, things went downhill from there. Since that 2016 season, he hasn’t had a year with more than 13 touchdown passes. He’s still learning from the challenges that injuries have brought him.
“It’s part of the journey, that’s how I kind of looked at it,” Mariota said. “It was a different experience. It was challenging at times, but at the same time, to go through that has created a foundation for me and others who came here for their first year. It was a difficult time for a lot of people but now that we’re coming on the other side of it people can say, ‘we’ve got through it and it’ll make us better.’”