Giants Considered Landing Spot for Former Heisman-Winning QB

Marcus Mariota linked to Giants

Getty Former Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota watches play between the Oregon Ducks and Arizona Wildcats.

The New York Giants are expected to place themselves squarely in the thick of the Mitchell Trubisky sweepstakes at the start of free agency. However, if the former No. 2 overall pick’s pricetag reaches the speculative numbers currently being tossed around, general manager Joe Schoen may have no choice but to go back to the drawing board and reconfigure his quarterback priorities on the open market.

Veteran signal-callers Cam Newton and Tyrod Taylor have been floated as potential cheaper alternatives for the Giants. The latter crossed paths with Schoen during his final campaign in Buffalo back in 2017 while Newton was linked to the G-Men via Carolina Panthers beat writer  Sheena Quick on March 8.

Still, while either player would theoretically up the position’s talent level as a whole for New York, neither offers the type of legitimate long-term upside to push Daniel Jones, the team’s incumbent starter under center. This is why Sports Illustrated’s Patricia Traina believes the Giants could toss their hat into the Marcus Mariota market.

“The Giants could potentially lure Mariota east with a two-year incentive-laden contract that includes escalators for playtime should Jones have to miss games (as he’s done every year since coming to the Giants, and performance incentives),” wrote Traina. “As for the value of the deal, it would likely have to be similar to the original two-year deal Mariota initially linked with the Raiders, with the guaranteed money frontloaded.”

Giants to Lure Mariota to New York?

There’s a lot to like from Mariota in terms of an upside signee. At the very worst, he comes in day one giving New York one of the league’s premier backup quarterbacks in the NFL and a top-32 talent at the position. The former Heisman winner is also a highly effective dual-threat option, rushing for 1,574 yards and 13 touchdowns on 264 career carries (6.0 yards per carry average). This would allow New York to continue to maintain their offensive schematics in the event that Jones misses any time in 2022 — something the team was unable to do in years past with the likes of Colt McCoy, Mike Glennon and Jake Fromm.

At the very best, Mariota has proven capable of being a productive quarterback at the pro level. The Oregon product finished three of his five seasons in Tennessee with a record above .500 and even has a playoff victory under his belt. Still just 28 years old, Mariota presents arguably as much promise as any quarterback on the free agency market aside from Trubisky and Jameis Winston.

Trubisky’s Pricing Himself Out of New York’s Plans?

As Traina highlighted, Mariota originally inked a two-year, $17.6 million deal with the Las Vegas Raiders prior to the start of the 2020 season. However, he agreed to a restructured deal prior to 2021 that reduced his cap number from $15.35 million all the way down to $3.5 million. He’s likely to see a moderately substantial pay bump this offseason. Especially if the Indianapolis Colts pin him as their successor to Carson Wentz, as ESPN’s Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler have reported to be a real possibility.

Still, Mariota’s salary will likely pale in comparison to Trubisky if the former Bears starter nets the type of deal former New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum expects he will, via ESPN on March 12:

For teams seeking a QB this season, consider this: If Trubisky was in this year’s draft class, I think he would clearly be the top signal-caller. Why not bring him in for a year, see what you have and then reassess next offseason? The 2023 offseason will offer the likes of Derek Carr and Kirk Cousins in free agency, and possibly Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud in the draft. Best case, you win big with Trubisky. Worst case, you try again with a much better crop to passers to pick from. (I think Young could be the real deal, and if I were a team that is in need of a long-term quarterback and that could be near the top of the draft order in 2023, I’d be pretty excited.)

Trubisky has already started 50 games and is only 27 years old. He has led his team to the playoffs in two seasons. Yes, he needs to continue to improve his accuracy, but because of his character, work ethic and age, he might end up the best available quarterback out there. And you can sign him to a reasonable contract.

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