Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Marcus Mariota shined in a few glimpses last season. However, fans might want to prepare to see him leave after this year.
When Mariota signed with the Silver and Black, many fans believed he’d battle for the starting job but injuries derailed that notion. Instead, Mariota was a non-factor until late in the year when he stepped in for an injured Derek Carr. ‘8’ showed off his ability to extend plays and make things happen with his legs in a brief showing against the Los Angeles Chargers. It’s obvious that the Raiders believe in Carr or else the team could’ve opted for a quarterback at last month’s NFL draft. The question now becomes whether the organization sees him as the backup beyond the 2021 season.
Raiders are in solid shape at quarterback for 2021…
As far as this season’s concerned, the team’s in solid shape with Mariota backing up Carr. Obviously, things would get murky if Carr fell to injury again and Mariota showed off. Head coach Jon Gruden would have himself a real quarterback controversy, again though, this is all speculation. Even if Mariota played well, it’d be highly unlikely that Gruden moves on from Carr at this point.
More than anything, Mariota would increase his own value as a potential starter in that scenario, meaning he’d likely go elsewhere. Another plausible scenario where Mariota doesn’t return is if another NFL team needs a proven starter immediately. As Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal pointed out earlier in the month, Mariota actually helped himself by taking a pay cut.
“…by accepting a pay cut from the Raiders, he attracts even more trade interest, as he wouldn’t be a salary-cap burden. If a starter goes down elsewhere, or a team isn’t satisfied with their quarterback options, Mariota could be appealing.”
Mariota’s put himself in a prime position to be a starter somewhere in 2022 if you think about it. He would be relatively cheap this year if a team indeed traded for him. Afterward, he’d earned himself a nice paycheck assuming he plays as he did in that game versus the Chargers.
Worst care scenario, Mariota feels he can still be a starter in the league and walks away from the Raiders. As it stands, the pending free agents at quarterback in 2022 leave a lot to be desired. Surely Mariota could earn a shot before a 40-year-old Ryan Fitzpatrick, right?
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*Top Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images