With the legal tampering period barely underway, the Raiders signed former Titans starter Marcus Mariota to a two-year $17.6 million contract, with $7.5 million guaranteed. While many expected the Raiders to add some competition for Derek Carr in 2020, few saw such a big contract being dished out.
It marks a significant moment in the team’s tumultuous relationship with incumbent Carr who is slated to make north of $58 million over the next three seasons. With just $2.5 million in dead cap space if he is released after the 2020 season this is a prove-it year for Carr.
Mariota experienced a very similar thing to Carr last season in Tennessee where Ryan Tannehill was brought in on a one-year deal to push him forward. For his part, Marcus Mariota really didn’t do that, and you have to wonder just how much he will push Carr.
Marcus Mariota ousted from Tennessee
Marcus Mariota was originally a second overall pick by the Titans in 2015 but has been plagued by injuries throughout his career, never managing to start a full slate of games. With a 29-32 record, he took the Titans to the playoffs in 2017 with a 9-6 record, where he famously caught a touchdown pass from himself in the wildcard game.
More of a dual-threat quarterback than Carr, Marcus Mariota has 1,399 rushing yards, and 11 touchdowns to his name, along with that lone touchdown reception. He has accumulated 13,207 passing yards, with a 62.9% completion rate, 76 touchdowns, and 44 interceptions.
Befuddled by Derek Carr’s inability to break out, coach Gruden has clearly decided he would like an experienced back up in case things change at the number one spot. Gruden has long been a defender of Carr’s play, but this smacks of a lack of genuine belief.
With a number of free agents on the market this offseason, the rapid signing of Mariota and the excessive amount of money will likely baffle a lot of people. However, two things are for sure, Marcus Mariota is an upgrade at the backup position, and he’s getting paid a lot of money to be a backup given the current market.