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Quick thoughts on Marcus Mariota contract numbers

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Mariota has incentives built in if he becomes Raiders’ starting QB

NFL: AFC Championship-Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs
Marcus Mariota
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The wait is over. The Marcus Mariota contract numbers are out.

The former Titans quarterback will get a two-year, $17.6 million deal that includes $7.5 million fully-guaranteed base in the first year, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network.

Which is pretty much what we thought it would be.

Mariota is getting paid as a good backup, but the carefully crafted incentives give him a chance to get paid as a starter. All in all, it’s a good deal for Mariota, who could be on the move next year if things don’t work out.

It also shows that the Raiders do think there is a chance that Mariota could overtake Derek Carr as the starting QB. Carr is in the middle of a five-year, $125 million deal.

If Carr falters this season, Mariota will get his chance and he will be rewarded for it financially if he answers the bell.

Mariota is hoping to reverse history. The No. 2 overall pick in 2015 was benched last season in favor of former Miami starter Ryan Tannehill, who signed as a backup with Tennessee. Tannehill had instant success and was rewarded with a huge contract by the Titans this offseason. So, essentially Mariota is trying to pull off the same thing that happened to him in Nashville in Las Vegas with Carr.

I have no doubt that if Carr has a bad training camp and preseason and Mariota outperforms him, Jon Gruden will turn to Mariota. The same thing goes if Carr falters during the season.

But there is, of course, no certainty that is going to happen. Carr has been better than Mariota for much of their NFL careers. Carr, who will turn 29 this month, came into the NFL in 2014, a year earlier than Mariota, who turns 27 during the season.

Mariota may be at a disadvantage if the offseason program is shortened or cancelled because of the coronavirus crisis, however. This is Carr’s third year in Gruden’s system, and Mariota would be very behind in camp without an offseason session.

Predictably, Mariota’s contract numbers, without incentives, are bigger than deals for fellow backups Case Keenum and Chase Daniel. Keenum is getting paid $18 million over three years by Cleveland and Daniel is getting paid $13.050 million by Detroit over three years. Those numbers make sense because Mariota’s history and his potential.

Contractually, it is no surprise Mariota is being given a chance to make a lot of money from the Raiders.