A lot can still happen this offseason but it appears the Las Vegas Raiders are set to run it back with Derek Carr at quarterback in 2020. Marcus Mariota was likely brought in last offseason to push Carr. That didn’t really happen as he was injured for half of the season. Carr is clearly the better of the two quarterbacks so the Raiders need to move off of Mariota’s bloated contract.
There has been a lot of talk about how Las Vegas can trade the backup quarterback. However, those talks appear to have stalled. Teams are realizing that they’ll have to pay Mariota at least $18 million if he’s the starter and his contract could exceed $20 million. According to Greg Bedard of the Boston Sports Journal, the quarterback isn’t budging on his contract, which has kept teams from pulling the trigger on a trade.
“Marcus Mariota and his camp are refusing to tear up the final year of his deal, that calls for him to be a $10 million backup, or a $21 million starter,” Bedard reported.
Due to his unwillingness to alter his contract, Mariota could be attempting to force a release from the Raiders. In that scenario, he’d be able to pick where he could go. Las Vegas simply can’t afford to pay him so unless a team is willing to pay him big money, he’s going to be a free agent at some point.
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Will Raiders Be Able to Trade Mariota?
It appears the Raiders have lost their leverage in the Mariota trade talks. If his contract wasn’t so big, he probably would’ve been dealt already. At this point, it’s seeming unlikely that he ends up getting traded. Mariota isn’t good enough to warrant that huge price tag. Why the Raiders thought it was a good idea to give him that deal is truly baffling.
If a team trades for the former No. 2 overall pick, they have to hope that his performance against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 15 was not a fluke. A big problem facing the Raiders is that Mariota hasn’t put together a strong season since 2016. He’s only thrown 32 touchdowns in his last 37 games. Those numbers don’t exactly scream franchise quarterback.
Raiders Have to Cut Mariota if Not Traded
Having a good backup quarterback is becoming increasingly important in the NFL. A team can’t put the entire season on the shoulders of one player. The Raiders learned that hard way in 2016 when Carr got hurt just before the playoffs. However, Mariota is due over $10 million next season just to be a backup.
Considering the Raiders have a litany of other needs, paying a backup quarterback that kind of money is just irresponsible. If they can’t find a trade for him, it’s time to cut their losses. The Raiders didn’t need to use a draft pick to attain Mariota, so they’d just be breaking even if they cut him outright. Getting something in return for him would justify spending all the money they did on him last season but that’s not seeming likely anymore.