On the first day of the week that kicks off NFL free agency, the Raiders made their quarterback situation much better.
The Raiders have agreed to a contract with former Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota.
While Raiders starter Derek Carr is coming off his best year and goes into this offseason as No. 1 for 2020, Mariota will give the Raiders much better depth and should push Carr to be even better.
Mariota, 26, is young, talented, and much more athletic than Carr. He’s a fine runner and scrambler and has a strong arm. The former No. 2 overall pick of the 2015 NFL draft is 29-32 as a pro starter with an 89.6 quarterback rating and has a 76 touchdown passes vs. 44 interceptions.
He’s also rushed for 1,399 yards (5.8 yards per carry) and 11 TDs, so he has an edge over Carr in that area.
But Mariota – sidelined and hampered by injuries and constant change in coaching staffs -- lost his starting job to Ryan Tannehill in 2019 and became a free agent.
Hall of fame wide receiver Tim Brown, a former Raider, tweeted that the addition of Mariota is great for the franchise: “Marcus and Jon (Gruden) belong together! If Derek does what I think he will do, Marcus may never play for us, but he will be a more confident QB the next time he does play!”
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network wrote the matchup for Mariota with Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock of the Raiders is a good fit. Both Gruden and Mayock were high about Mariota’s potential when he was coming out for the draft from Oregon.
Wrote Rapoport: “Mayock was a huge fan of Mariota in the pre-draft process. … Not a big surprise he targeted Mariota to come in and back up Derek Carr.”