On Monday, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported that it was likely that Las Vegas Raiders’ backup quarterback Marcus Mariota would be traded this offseason.
By Wednesday however, Rapoport said that Mariota’s trade market is “drying up significantly.”
From NFL Now: #Raiders QB Marcus Mariota has generated a lot of interest from teams, but the max value of his contract has been an issue for teams. Trade talk has slowed considerably. Could he be eventually released? pic.twitter.com/pPlwOSS3Yk— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 24, 2021
The root of the issue is not lack of interest in Mariota — Rapoport states that teams remain interested — but that his contract status for 2021 is the sticking point in potential trades.
Mariota is set to make $10.7 million this season and that’s why the Raiders are likely to shed his contract. But if he is a starter, his contract skyrockets to more than $22 million for 2021. As Rapoport explains, it’s unlikely that teams will want to give up a draft pick and pay Mariota that much on top.
If Mariota doesn’t agree to redo his contract as part of a trade, he could end up being released and then picking his own team.
In reality, it has seemed like a release was more likely than a trade because of the contract. But major interest in Mariota gave the Raiders hope for a trade and the ability to get compensation for him. Mariota played just one game in 2020 but he played it well as an injury replacement for starter Derek Carr.
There is still time for the Raiders to figure out Mariota’s future, but it now looks like it is not a sure thing they will be able to flip him for a draft pick and will end up simply releasing Mariota after one season.