While much of the football world is trying to absorb the thought of Tom Brady going to the Raiders, Mel Kiper Jr. is pointing toward a different veteran joining the Raiders for 2020.
How about Marcus Mariota?
The former Titans standout – the No. 2 overall choice in the 2015 NFL draft – struggled in 2019 and eventually was benched in favor of Ryan Tannehill. As the Titans look toward next season, it appears Mariota’s future in Tennessee may be over. That prompted Kiper, the longtime draft analyst for ESPN, to suggest on his podcast recently that Mariota might be a good fit with the Raiders.
Though the Raiders already have a starting QB under contract in Derek Carr, who had a pretty good 2019 season in leading his team to a 7-9 record, Kiper suggests the Raiders could sign Mariota, who can become an unrestricted free agent, and set up a competition for the starting job.
It’s a strange and unexpected career twist for Mariota, who’s had some pretty good seasons with the Titans, including 2016, when he threw for 26 touchdowns (vs. just nine interceptions), had a 95.6 quarterback rating and also rushed for 349 yards. Over his career, Mariota has been one of the league’s top running QBs, rushing for 1,399 yards and 11 TDs in 63 games.
Mariota is uncertain where he’ll play in 2020 but believes he can be a successful starter.
“I have no doubts at all, no doubts at all,” he told a writer for the Titans website. “I’m just hopeful and ready for whatever that next opportunity is.”
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, too, has said he believes Mariota is a fine talent, once saying: “I think he can be a great, front-line Pro Bowl quarterback in the league.” Of course, Gruden also has said he believes in Carr, too.
Meanwhile, the Raiders are reportedly set to offer Brady, the 42-year-old who’s led the Patriots to six Super Bowl wins, a two-year deal worth $60 million.
Brady? Mariota? Carr? This could be an eventful offseason for the Raiders.