On Tuesday, the Las Vegas Raiders and Marcus Mariota agreed to a contract restructure to keep the 27-year-old quarterback in the fold for another season.
But it didn’t come without a pay cut.
Mariota, who initially signed a two-year, $17.6 million deal prior to the 2020 season, agreed to a one-year contract worth just $3.5 million for the 2021 NFL season. He was slated to make $10.725 million this season.
Luckily, Mariota can make as much as $8 million if he hits the incentives in his contract, but that would require starting QB Derek Carr to get injured or benched.
So, why did the former Oregon star take a steep pay cut to stay with the Raiders?
“I feel like this team has allowed me the opportunity to get healthy, to get better and, at the end of the day, I appreciate loyalty,” Mariota told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
The Raiders have played a significant role in helping the No. 1 pick’s get healthy again, not only physically but mentally. Last December, Mariota detailed how the Raiders helped him regain his confidence.
“You know to be truthful, it’s been a long journey,” Mariota said. “I’ve been through kind of everything, from injuries to surgeries, to mental lapses, and the confidence thing. I just really appreciate the Raiders and the entire organization for kind of helping me through that. I was trying to kind of find my way again and they gave me an opportunity to take some time, were patient with me and I just appreciate the fact that they were willing to do that.”
Mariota spent last season as the backup to Carr, playing in eight games with one start. While coming off the bench for an injured Carr, Mariota completed 17 of 28 passes for 226 yards and a touchdown. He also ran nine times for 88 yards and a touchdown vs. the Justin Herbert led Chargers.
While his showing was brief, the former Heisman trophy winner was expected to draw attention from many QB-needy teams in free agency. However, his cap hit of over $10 million, was said to be a snag amongst possible suitors.
Now, he’ll be back in a Raiders uniform again in 2021, and ready to fill in should Carr miss any time off the field.