Eagles Could Sign Ex-No. 2 Pick as New Backup QB: Analyst

Jalen Hurts

Getty The Eagles could be looking at a new backup QB for Jalen Hurts.

The Philadelphia Eagles could soon have a new backup quarterback.

As predicted by CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin, the Eagles will sign former Atlanta Falcons starting quarterback Marcus Mariota. The former No. 2 overall draft pick served as the Falcons’ starting quarterback this season, starting 13 games before he was eventually replaced by rookie Desmond Ridder. In Benjamin’s prediction, Mariota will serve as Jalen Hurts’ new backup with Gardner Minshew projected to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Mariota Would Fit Eagles’ Offensive System

The 29-year-old Mariota was up-and-down this season after serving as a starter for the first time since the 2019 season with the Tennessee Titans. Mariota led the Falcons to a 5-8 record while throwing 15 touchdowns versus nine interceptions. He also contributed 438 rushing yards and four touchdowns on the ground.

However, he struggled with his accuracy (61.3 percent) and ranked towards the bottom of the league in that category (27th). Furthermore, his passer rating (88.2) ranks just 21st in the league.

With that being said, Mariota is one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the league, which is a big reason why the Eagles are a logical destination for the former highly touted quarterback.

The Eagles heavily rely upon the read option and running game to make their offense operate. It’s the reason why the offense operates at a different level when Jalen Hurts is starting compared to a quarterback who isn’t so mobile in Gardner Minshew.

Since Hurts’ injury, Philadelphia has gone 0-2 with Minshew as the starting quarterback.

Mariota ranks sixth in rushing yards and seventh in rushing yards per game among quarterbacks. Atlanta runs a similar type of offense as the Eagles which heavily relies upon the read option and running game.

Mariota Looking at Final Days With Falcons

Mariota has essentially played his last game with the Falcons as he can be cut with just a $2.5 million dead cap hit this offseason. Mariota also reportedly left the Falcons after he was benched in favor of Ridder prior to Week 15 with Atlanta still in the NFC South playoff race.

Via Josh Kendall of The Athletic:

“Smith informed Mariota of the decision to make a change at quarterback on Thursday morning,” said Kendall on Dec. 13. “The Falcons learned Friday that Mariota planned to step away from the team. This is the second time Mariota has been benched while playing for Smith. The first came in 2019 when Mariota was Tennessee’s starting quarterback and Smith was the Titans’ offensive coordinator.”

While Mariota isn’t a solid starting quarterback, he would easily be one of the best backup quarterbacks in the league. He previously played the role for the Las Vegas Raiders over the past two seasons behind Derek Carr.

Mariota has 87 games of experience and 74 starts under his belt with a 34-40 career record. He also started for the Titans between 2015-2019 and led Tennessee to a playoff win at the conclusion of the 2017 season.

Considering Hurts’ playing style leaves him at risk of being injured — he’s missed two games this season due to injury and also missed one last year due to an ailment — it’s imperative Philadelphia signs a backup quarterback who can run the same system when Hurts is sidelined.

Signing Mariota ensures the Eagles won’t run into the same problem next season that they’ve run into with Minshew this year.




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