Now, this is a quarterback idea I can get behind.
The NFL Network reported Friday that the Raiders will be one of the teams interested in Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota in free agency,
Mike Mayock's No. 1 ranked QB in 2015. Of course, Mariota will have other options and the Raiders will explore other QBs so no guarantee it comes together. But he's in the mix for sure. https://t.co/lSlxMLcT2z— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 6, 2020
This is a smart play by the Raiders for so many reasons.
One, it would mean the Raiders would be out of the Tom Brady-Philip Rivers market, which is the best approach. Stay away from the old guys, please.
Signing Mariota would also allow the Raiders to keep Derek Carr. Mariota, who lost his job in Tennessee last season, would surely come in as a backup.
But that doesn’t mean he couldn’t compete.
My read on Jon Gruden and Carr is that the coach likes Carr just fine, but doesn’t love his game. So, if Carr stumbles, Mariota would have an opportunity to take over. Perhaps he could have the same career revival that Ryan Tannehill did for the Titans last season when he replaced a slumping Mariota.
This way, though, Carr would still go into the season as the starter, which would be important. He wouldn’t be threatened. But if Carr did falter, there would be an in-season answer. Plus, if Carr gets hurt (he’s missed just three games including playoffs in his six-season career) the Raiders could do a lot worse than Mariota, who has 61 career starts.
As the NFL Network mentioned, Mariota will have suitors. He is five years removed from being the No. 2 overall draft pick and has had some success, throwing for 3,429 yards and 26 touchdowns in 2016.
Mariota likely won’t get many real chances to be a starter, though. So, backing up Carr might appeal to Mariota. Don’t discount location, either. Mariota is from Hawaii and played at Oregon. Being in Las Vegas (which is a tourism mecca for residents of Hawaii) could appeal to him.
Of course, likely so would working with Gruden. Cue the Gruden-Mariota video:
Signing Mariota would allow the Raiders to give Carr a final chance, ideally with better receivers. If Gruden doesn’t feel good about Carr after the 2020 season, then he could move on. This plan would also give the Raiders a chance to mold Mariota and make him a quality player again. Perhaps he could become a nice trade chip.
And it would also keep the Raiders from reaching in the first round for a quarterback and allow them to use their No. 12 and No. 19 picks for need spots like the defense and above-mentioned receiver help.
There’s no downside to this idea. It allows the Raiders to be rational and smart. I like it.
Let’s see it happen.