The New England Patriots had been tied to Marcus Mariota as a potential replacement if Tom Brady leaves the team in free agency. But now, it looks like the former No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft is off the board.
According to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, the Las Vegas Raiders are close to signing Mariota to a deal. As noted, current Raiders GM and former NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock had Mariota graded as his No. 1 overall quarterback in the 2015 class.
The #Raiders are pushing to close out a deal with QB Marcus Mariota, sources tell me and @RapSheet. Mike Mayock's No. 1-ranked QB in his @nflnetwork coverage leading up to the 2015 Draft could soon be on his roster.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 17, 2020
And shortly after this information was made public, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport confirmed that the two sides have a deal.
Mariota's looked to be a solid quarterback in his first two seasons with the Titans before he started to regress in 2017. He got the Titans to the playoffs that season, but he struggled with turnovers and didn't display the same accuracy that had made him a solid passer before.
His decline continued over the course of the next two seasons and he was ultimately replaced by Ryan Tannehill after the Titans started the season 2-4 under Mariota's guidance. Tannehill elevated the team's play and led them to the AFC Championship Game.
Though Mariota has struggled of late, the 26-year-old still has plenty of upside. And that's why many believed he would find a home rather quickly on the free-agent market, even despite the historically great quarterback class available via free agency.
With Mariota off the board and Brady still not giving any indication that he's returning to New England, the Patriots options on the quarterback market are dwindling. Perhaps Brady will re-sign, but if he doesn't, the team may have to target a guy like Jameis Winston or trade for a veteran like Andy Dalton if they want to add some competition for Jarrett Stidham.
The uncertainty surrounding the Patriots quarterback situation will soon evaporate. But if Brady leaves, they'll have one less veteran candidate to add to the roster.