Are Raiders Better Off Trading QB Marcus Mariota?

Last offseason, the Las Vegas Raiders signed former Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota. The Oregon standout was coming off a season in which he lost his job to Ryan Tannehill. This didn’t prevent Mariota from cashing in as the Silver and Black signed him to a two-year deal for 17.6 million dollars, making him the nineteenth highest-paid quarterback in the entire NFL.

The Raiders could take advantage of an opportunity

Many fans didn’t like the signing due to the money Mariota got as a backup. Then again, the Raiders were very lucky to have Mariota’s services in Week 15 against the Los Angeles Chargers. In that game, quarterback Derek Carr left the game with a groin injury.

The former Heisman Trophy winner gave the offense an instant jolt with his willingness to extend plays, and his aggressiveness. He was 17-of-28 for 226 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Moreover, he added 88 yards on the ground and another touchdown. His performance made more than a few see ‘8’ get another chance at the starting gig.

Quarterbacks are the NFL’s most valuable currency. This is never more true than in an offseason with so many teams in need of a signal-caller. The Washington Football Team, the Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts are some of them, and they will not all have the opportunity to acquire one of the top four prospects in this year’s draft. Therefore, the Raiders would be wise to contact them and see if the interest in Mariota exists.

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What could the Raiders get for Marcus Mariota?

It is highly unlikely that anyone would part ways with a first-round pick to acquire Mariota’s. The last time a team gave up a first-round selection for a quarterback was the Minnesota Vikings. They traded for Sam Bradford after Teddy Bridgewater sustained an injury in 2016. In all honesty, the Raiders may not be able to get much.

The two examples most relatable to the Raiders’ current situation with Mariota are that of Tannehill and Bridgewater. All three of these players were around the same age and had starting experience. They also dealt with injuries and changed teams after posting good numbers in limited action.

Not all the trades are the same

In Tannehill’s case, The Miami Dolphins got a seventh-round selection in 2019 and a 2020 fourth-round pick. In return, the Titans got the quarterback and a sixth-round selection. Looking back, that was an incredible deal for Tennessee, as Tannehill has become a borderline top ten quarterback.

Bridgewater’s case was similar. The Saints gave the New York Jets a third-round pick to acquire his services. This looked like a hefty price to pay for a backup at the time. However, the Saints were proven correct when starter Drew Brees went down with an injury and Bridgewater went undefeated in relief.

Looking at these trades, it seems like the Raiders may only be able to acquire a day three selection for Mariota. Working in Las Vegas favor is the fact that Marcus will be entering the last year of his contract and whoever gets him will not have a long-term attachment to him. This would make him a great stop-gap solution for a team that wants a reliable starter for the upcoming season.

A squad like the Colts, who are losing both Philip Rivers and Jacoby Brissett to free agency, could be willing to offer a fourth-round pick or even a third-round selection for Marcus Mariota.

Would it be worth it?

Raiders’ brass must add pieces to a defense that simply needs to be average to put them firmly in the hunt for a playoff spot. One of the easiest ways they could accomplish this is by ridding themselves of many large contracts on the payroll, including Mariota’s.

Head coach Jon Gruden surely likes having a quarterback of Mariota’s caliber on the roster and will choose to keep him around for the final season of his contract. On the other hand, having almost $11 million more dollars to spend this offseason might have even more value, especially if the Silver and Black are able to add a draft pick in the process.

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Top Photo: Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun

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