Raiders: Marcus Mariota would be an intriguing addition

Raiders, Marcus Mariota (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Raiders, Marcus Mariota (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

The Las Vegas Raiders reportedly have interest in quarterback Marcus Mariota and the former Heisman winner would make for an intriguing offseason addition.

The Las Vegas Raiders have been — and will continue to be — at the center of a variety of offseason rumors regarding their quarterback position. But the latest rumor connecting them with Marcus Mariota may be the most interesting of all.

Rumors have run rampant all offseason and in actuality, rumors regarding the Raiders’ quarterback plans date back to last offseason. But through it all, Derek Carr is still their guy — at least for now.

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From Tom Brady to Teddy Bridgewater and from Jordan Love to Jalen Hurts, the Raiders have seemingly been connected to every free agent or draft prospect that is feasibly possible.

However, on Friday, another scenario was brought up and it’s one that is more attractive than it may initially appear. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported that the Raiders were interested in signing former Heisman winner Marcus Mariota.

Unlike in other scenarios, Mariota wouldn’t be a direct replacement for Carr. If the team were to sign someone like Brady or Bridgewater, the expectation is that Carr would be shipped away in a trade.

Or if the Raiders instead opted to select a rookie in the 2020 NFL Draft, that player would eventually be expected to take over for Carr in the near future. Either option would essentially entail giving up on their current quarterback.

But what if the Raiders aren’t ready to do that just yet? What if they still have some hope that Carr is the right guy for the job and that he could eventually lead the team to a Super Bowl?

If that’s the case, signing a player like Mariota makes all the sense in the world.

If Mariota was signed, Carr would likely go into the 2020 season as the projected starter. But instead of players like Mike Glennon and Nathan Peterman backing him up, he’d be pressured by an experienced starter with moderate success in the past.

Mariota would instantly become one of the NFL’s best backups from a talent/experience perspective and could provide Carr with the competition he needs. From there, it’s either sink or swim.

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If Carr falters, Jon Gruden likely wouldn’t hesitate to insert the former top draft pick. And with Mariota, you have a level of upside that you won’t have with other free-agent signal-callers.

Sure someone like Case Keenum is experienced, but where’s the upside if Carr doesn’t succeed? He’d just be a placeholder.

With Mariota, you get the luxury of having a relatively young backup with plenty of upside who doubles as a reliable veteran backup with starting experience. It’s the best of both worlds.

And if neither Carr or Mariota work out, then you turn to other options the following offseason. There’s no guarantee that it works, but this scenario would give the Raiders a solid plan if they aren’t fully committed to moving on from Carr just yet.

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He won’t sell as many tickets as Tom Brady and he won’t be as exciting as bringing in some young blood in the draft, but signing Marcus Mariota could ultimately be the best course of action for the Raiders.