We paid attention when the Las Vegas Raiders decided to sign quarterback Marcus Mariota in free agency. At the time, his addition got everyone’s attention and looked like it would have some kind of impact. Now, not so much.
It made sense at the time to ink Marcus Mariota
Although quarterback Derek Carr was coming off one of his best statistical seasons in 2019, Raiders brass sent mixed signals. Back in the offseason, head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock never unquestionably committed to the signal-caller. Moreover, there was a report Carr was being shopped. For that reason, it was interesting to see the Raiders sign Mariota.
On one hand, the team finally had invested resources in their backup quarterback position after neglecting it for years. Before Mariota, an unspectacular group that includes Mike Glennon, E.J. Manuel, Matt McGloin, and Nathan Peterman backed Carr up. For once, the Raiders had brought in a competent backup.
Mariota’s two-year $17.6 million deal didn’t seem costly but rather necessary. Nobody likes to see players go down with injuries but that’s an inherent part of playing football and teams need to be prepared for them. Nevertheless, things haven’t worked out the way the Raiders likely envisioned them.
Furthermore, Mariota’s presence could have made things interesting in training camp and provided some competition with the quarterback position, something that didn’t end up happening. The threat never materialized and Carr is currently having an even better year than he did in 2019.
Marcus Mariota hasn’t done much for the Raiders
So far, Mariota has dealt with injuries throughout his tenure in Las Vegas. That talk about bringing some heat to Carr never materialized. Moreover, he has been a non-factor and hasn’t contributed in any tangible way. Back in training camp, he was struggling but few outside the Henderson headquarters knew why he was struggling. Things became clearer when the Raiders placed him on the Injured Reserve list with a pectoral injury on Sept, 7.
Mariota returned back to practice on Sept, 30 but there haven’t been many updates regarding his status. While he could end up joining the active roster, it’s doubtful the Raiders are counting on him to have a major impact. For the time being, Nathan Peterman has been Carr’s backup and the team could keep things that way even if Mariota returns.
In retrospect, Mariota’s signing hasn’t worked out and it wasn’t a good investment this offseason. Tashan Reed of The Athletic believes it’s fair to judge the signing and thinks that it was a waste of money. There were other cheaper options but the Raiders decided to go for the premium one. Hindsight is 20/20.
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Top Photo: AP Photo/John Locher