After a shaky preseason and the emergence of former Stanford Cardinal quarterback Tanner McKee, who Philly selected in tbe sixth round of the 2023 draft, David Kenyon of Bleacher Report thinks Mariota may be the Eagles’ most tradable player.
The NFL is a quarterback-driven league, and if another team sees injuries hit its QB room, Kenyon believes Mariota might be one of the first calls a QB-needy team will make.
“At this point of his career, the 29-year-old isn’t a ‘savior’ for any offense,” Kenyon wrote on September 5. “However, he’s on a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, who may soon anoint sixth-round pick Tanner McKee as the backup. Once the Eagles are ready to roll with the 23-year-old as QB2 behind Jalen Hurts, Mariota will be expendable.”
Mariota Can Still Be Serviceable Backup & Fill-In
After starting 13 games for the Atlanta Falcons last year, in which he completed 61.3% of his passes for 2,219 yards, 15 touchdowns and nine interceptions, Mariota was replaced by rookie Desmond Ridder with four games remaining in the season. He was released by Atlanta in a cap-saving move when the season concluded, and he headed to Philly after that.
The former No.2 overall pick in 2015, Mariota has also played for the Las Vegas Raiders and Tennessee Titans. Over his eight-year career, (87 games, 74 starts) he has completed 1,312 of 2,097 passes (62.6%) for 92 touchdowns and 54 interceptions, also rushing for 2,012 yards and 17 scores.
“Mariota shouldn’t be difficult to acquire in a pinch,” Kenyon added. “And if the Eagles get anything of value back for a backup who might get jumped on the depth chart anyway, that’s a win, too.”
Tanner McKee Has Eagles Nation Excited
McKee got Eagles fans hyped throughout the 2023 preseason not only with his arm, but with his ease and comfort in the pocket. The moment never looked too big for 23-year-old QB, who also has confidence to boot.
Over three preseason games, McKee went 39-72 (54.2 completion percentage), a touchdown and no interceptions. By contrast, Mariota went 17-of-30 (56.7 completion percentage) for 165 yards, no touchdowns and an interception in three preseason appearances.
“We drafted him because we liked him, and we liked the accuracy he showed on tape,” Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said about his sixth-round QB, via NBC Sports. “We liked the decision-making he showed on tape, and he’s continued to show that throughout practice and games. He’s put three good games together, and so was excited to work with him. Really pleased with how he was this preseason.”
While there’s no doubt McKee has impressed fans and coaches alike, the Eagles are looking to get back to the Super Bowl for the second straight year. Would they be willing to part with a capable veteran backup and roll with a Day 3 pick with zero experience playing in regular season NFL games? That’s unlikely.
If the worst case scenario hit and Hurts were to get injured, Philadelphia would likely want to go with the guy who has experience, and that’s Mariota. Other teams may inquire about the veteran QB, and it’s possible Philly will trade him, but don’t be surprised if he sticks around.