Marcus Mariota

Marcus Mariota's going to the Las Vegas Raiders, which is a fun litmus test for Bears fans

Marcus Mariota's going to the Las Vegas Raiders, which is a fun litmus test for Bears fans

The latest rumored Bears QB target is headed elsewhere: 

The Bears were casually linked to Mariota by some throughout various points this offseason, yet there was also a report stating the representation the two QBs share wasn't fond of both competing for the same starting spot. Perhaps more interesting is the fact that Mariota found a home in Las Vegas. It creates two trains of thought for Bears fans: 

1. Mariota comes in as the presumed backup to Derek Carr, who remains on a tight leash and is inevitably fighting a losing battle anyways. Mariota ironically becomes the insurance policy that worked against him with the Titans, but ultimately remains the backup and buys the Raiders time to reset at QB after Carr. 

2. This makes Carr totally expendable, which creates a far more interesting situation for the Bears. Carr's been a better quarterback, but he's clearly on the way out with Jon Gruden, and Raiders GM Mike Maycock was infamously high on Mariota as a Draft Analyst for the NFL Network in 2015. 

It's the fun, neurotic, Bears-themed choose-your-own-adventure you never knew you wanted. 

Raiders inching closer to deal with Marcus Mariota

Raiders inching closer to deal with Marcus Mariota

Former Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota was a popular name mentioned anytime the Chicago Bears offseason quarterback plans came up over the last few months, but it appears he's destined for Las Vegas and a marriage with Raiders coach Jon Gruden.

Mariota was benched by the Titans in favor of Ryan Tannehill last season, and the rest was history. Tannehill enjoyed a remarkable season that resulted in the AP's 2019 Comeback Player of the Year award and a new four-year, $118 million contract on the eve of free agency.

If the Raiders finalize a deal with Mariota, the next logical question becomes what happens with Derek Carr. 

Carr has proven to be a viable NFL starter since entering the league in 2014 and will become a hot name as a trade target for teams left with quarterback needs after the first wave of free agency concludes.

The Raiders could decide to keep both quarterbacks and let them fight it out for the starting job, much like the Bears are expected to do with whoever they add to the quarterback depth chart (assuming it isn't a player like Teddy Bridgewater).

With Case Keenum signing in Cleveland and Mariota looking like he's about to become a Raider, the Bears' options for that mid-level quarterback competitor are dwindling.

Bears dubbed logical landing spot for free-agent QB Marcus Mariota

Bears dubbed logical landing spot for free-agent QB Marcus Mariota

Much has been made of the Bears quarterback quandary. The front office is trying to will Mitch Trubisky to be the guy while acknowledging that competition is needed. Free agency is the most likely means by which the Bears will add that competition, and former Titans' first-rounder Marcus Mariota would be a sensible target.

In fact, The Ringer dubbed the Bears a logical landing spot for the former No. 2 overall selection, although it wasn't for all the best reasons.

Signing Mariota to a one-year, $6 million deal to serve as “competition” for Trubisky is the exact sort of half-hearted move the Bears would make.

Mariota's career hasn't been all that different from Trubisky's first three seasons in the league. There's been some good, there's been some bad, and there's still a sense of an overall unknown when it comes to who he is as a quarterback. Sometimes, highly drafted players maintain the benefit of the doubt after several seasons of underwhelming play because of how hyped they were as draft prospects. That seems to be the case with Mariota, whose career resume doesn't read like a surefire upgrade over Trubisky.

And therein lies the problem if Mariota is, in fact, the guy the Bears target. How much confidence would Chicago have in his ability to string together a consistent (and healthy) season when he's done nothing in his career so far to suggest he can?

Mariota's best season came in 2016 when he threw for 3,426 yards with 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions. It was his second season in the league and it had his arrow clearly pointing up. But he's managed just 31 touchdown passes (total) in the three seasons since and has yet to start a full 16-game schedule. Most damming to his case to be the spark that the Bears need is that he wasn't that guy for the Titans; Ryan Tannehill was. 

Tennessee was better without Mariota. He was beaten out by Tannehill, who prior to joining the Titans was an underachiever himself. Not the best sales pitch, I'd say.

But this is where the Bears' quarterback situation is. They aren't going to land an automatic upgrade, a guy whose history of success is well-documented and respected. Instead, it's going to be a player like Mariota, who will use a team like the Bears to rehabilitate his standing in the NFL's quarterback fraternity.

Maybe Chicago catches quarterback lightning in a bottle. Just don't get your hopes up.

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