During this past offseason, the Las Vegas Raiders were able to bring back quarterback Marcus Mariota. Mariota signed a one-year, $3.5 million deal. This once again solidified his spot as the backup behind Derek Carr. However, the Raiders still have many needs, and many teams around the league could use a quarterback. Let’s take a look at the reasons for and against trading Mariota.
The case for keeping Mariota
First and foremost, Mariota is a great backup quarterback to have. There are several teams around the league where Mariota could arguably start on. While he hasn’t had the start to his career that many thought he would, he’s great at his current role. In fact, Mariota is one of the better backup quarterbacks in the league.
We saw this when Carr got injured in Week 14 last year. Mariota took over and delivered a dime on his first drive.
BEAUTIFUL pass from Marcus Mariota to Darren Waller for 6️⃣! #RaiderNation
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) December 18, 2020
Mariota proved he was able to successfully navigate the offense. Jon Gruden for his part proved he could adjust the offensive scheme to fit Mariota’s skillset as well, which is far different than Carr’s. During this short stint, Mariota completed 17 of 28 passes, while throwing for 226 yards and a touchdown. He gave Raiders fans confidence and comfortablity. That’s all a backup needs to do, and if Carr suffers any injuries, Mariota has proved he can step in and play well.
Another reason to keep Mariota is the fact that the Raiders don’t have much depth behind him. The next best quarterback on the roster is Nathan Peterman. Although Gruden seems to love Peterman, he’s in the minority in that regard. Considering that Mariota is on a cheap one-year deal, plus the fact that the Raiders’ don’t have another quality backup behind him, it would make a lot of sense to hold onto Mariota this year.
The case for trading Mariota
With all of that said, the Raiders already have a quality quarterback in Carr. ‘4‘has been able to stay healthy for most of his career. If the Raiders want to gamble that Carr will stay healthy in 2021, they could trade Mariota and get some help in another place of need.
Mariota is not a franchise quarterback. It’s also safe to say a team won’t come knocking on the Raiders’ door thinking they’ve found their guy. However, there are many teams that are a decent quarterback away from being a contender. Teams like the Broncos, Patriots, Saints, and the Washington Football Team are some that might fit. There have been no rumors involving any of these teams, but they are all teams on the cusp of contention with mediocre quarterbacks on their roster. The Colts have Carson Wentz, but if his injury develops into a long-term issue, it would make sense for them to trade for Mariota as well.
Again, there has been no official word with any of these teams involving Mariota, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility. A team like the ones above could take a capable quarterback like Mariota since they are already on the cusp of contention. Mariota is on a very cheap deal as well, so no team is going to take a financial blow landing him.
The Raiders have some holes to fill as well. The defense is young and unproven across the field. Depth is needed on the offensive line as well. It would make a lot of sense for the Raiders to trade from a place of strength to get some help in a position that needs it. At the very least, they could pick up some extra draft capital.
The Raiders are in a win-win situation here. Mariota is a quality backup, and by holding onto him the Raiders will be far more comfortable if Carr deals with any injuries this year. They also have the option of trading him and getting some assets in return as well.
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*Top Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images