There’s been a lot of chatter surrounding the Las Vegas Raiders‘ quarterbacks this offseason. While Derek Carr looks like he’ll be the team’s quarterback in 2021, it’s hard to imagine that Marcus Mariota sticks around for another year. He’s good enough to be a starter on a number of teams in the NFL but the Raiders are paying him too much to be a backup.
There have been reports that teams have a lot of interest in a trade for Mariota. Unfortunately for the Raiders, that interest appears to be waning, according to former NFL executive Michael Lombardi.
“Let’s take Marcus Mariota. … Washington was interested [in a trade], I don’t think they’re interested anymore,” Lombardi said on The Pat McAfee Show. “New England was interested, I’m not sure they’re interested anymore.”
Mariota’s contract seems to be a red flag for teams. His base salary is over $10.5 million but his contract is loaded with incentives. If he starts in over 12 games this season, Mariota will make more than $18 million in total, according to ESPN’s John Keim. If he wins a lot of games, he’ll make over $20 million. While teams probably wouldn’t have a problem paying $20 million if Mariota is good, they definitely won’t want to pay him $18 million if he’s bad.
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Teams Think They Can Get Mariota in Free Agency
The momentum for a Mariota trade is diminishing rather quickly. According to Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, potentially interested teams aren’t buying that the Raiders will hold onto his contract if a trade doesn’t happen and would rather try their luck in free agency.
“There is an expectation that Mariota will end up on the market as a cap casualty,” Bonsignore reported Tuesday. “As a result, teams will be averse to giving up assets for someone that will likely be available in free agency.”
That report from Bonsignore isn’t great news for the Raiders. They have plenty of time to figure out what to do but it looks like it might be difficult to get something in return.
What Will Raiders Do With Mariota?
Jon Gruden getting stubborn and holding onto Mariota isn’t outside of the realm of possibilities. However, that would be a very bad move for the Raiders. It’s important to have a strong backup but Mariota is way too expensive. The team has way bigger needs this offseason.
At best, the Raiders would’ve only got a third or fourth-round pick for Mariota if his contract was better. Cutting him loose and letting him sign with whatever team he wants isn’t that much of a loss. Now, the signing of Mariota was one of the worst moves the team made last offseason. They paid him way too much money and he only saw playing time in one game. If they didn’t sign him, maybe they would’ve been able to sign Pro Bowl cornerback Byron Jones and then could’ve used their first-round pick to address a different position of need. Perhaps trading Mariota and getting something in return would justify the signing. Regardless, it was a bad move by the Raiders and should cut their losses as soon as possible.
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