Former Heisman Winner ‘Could Start’ at QB for Giants, Says NFL Writer

Giants pegged as fit for QB Marcus Mariota

Getty Raiders quarterback Marcus Mariota.

Barring an unforeseen blockbuster move at the position, Daniel Jones will be the New York Giants‘ starting quarterback in 2020. Yet, that’s not to say the team won’t look to add some talent behind the former Duke Blue Devil.

Colt McCoy did perform admirably in place of an injured Jones this season, splitting his two starts down the middle, including an upset victory over the Seahawks in Seattle. With that said, McCoy is an impending free-agent and will be 35 years of age come the start of next season.

McCoy is a serviceable reserve, best described as an extra coach on the field rather than a guy who can go out and personally help will your team to victory when called upon. His ceiling is limited, and in no way is he in New York to push Jones.

While the Giants may prefer their starter not looking over his shoulder, many others would like to see a fire lit under the soon-to-be third-year pro. If not that, then at least an intriguing option who, if Jones goes down again, has the skillset (namely mobility) to operate the Giants’ offense in its entirety.

NBC Sports’ Dylan Mickanen believes Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Marcus Mariota may fit the billing for both.

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Giants & Marcus Mariota, a Perfect Marriage?

Mickanen recently broke down the five NFL teams that “Mariota could start for next season.” Spoiler alert, the Giants made the cut.

Here’s Mickanen’s reasoning:

In Joe Judge’s first season as head coach, the Giants were an Eagles tank job away from winning the NFC East despite having one of the most turnover-prone quarterbacks in the NFL with Daniel Jones.

The Giants should explore the possibility that Jones isn’t the long-term answer in New York and an upgrade at quarterback who just takes care of the football will make the Giants a much better team every weekend.

This is the team who started Colt McCoy and won in Seattle this season.

While his base salary does jump to $10.6 million in 2021, Mariota offers the upside (still just 27-years-old) and experience (63 starts, including postseason) ideal for a team in New York’s current situation.

In the best case scenario, Jones rises to the challenge and cements himself as the team’s franchise signal-caller, leaving the team with one of the better backups in all of football behind him. Another scenario, Mariota does to Jones what Ryan Tannehill did to him in Tennesse. In which case, with the Titans as a glaring example, the Giants likely still come out on top.

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Mariota’s Stock on the Rise

Mariota’s time as an NFL starter looked all but done just a few weeks ago. Handed a hefty two-year, $17.6 million contract this offseason, many projected the former Heisman winner to push Derek Carr for the starting job. Instead, the former Heisman Trophy winner operated the majority of the season as Vegas’ No. 3 quarterback behind both Carr and Nathan Peterman.

This, of course, all changed in a Week 15 bout against AFC West foes, the Los Angeles Chargers, as Mariota was called upon to fill in for an injured Carr. While the Raiders would go on to lose the game in dramatic fashion, 30-27, Mariota showed why he’s the NFL’s highest-paid backup.

Logging his first meaningful snaps since Week 6 of last season, the Oregon Ducks legend turned back the clock, flashing the skillset that once made him the No. 2 overall pick back in 2015 and earned him the nickname Super Mario along the way.

Mariota flaunted his dual-threat abilities, impressing both through the air and on the ground. The quarterback ended the game with 226 yards passing, one touchdown and one interception on 17-of-28 passing. He added an extra 88 yards and a touchdown rushing on nine attempts.

Mariota wouldn’t take another snap under center in 2020, as Carr would return to the lineup the following week and likely next season. However, the Honolulu native looks to have done enough in his lone showing to at the very least entice a handful of QB-needy teams out there.

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