It looks like the moment of reckoning has arrived for the Las Vegas Raiders and Marcus Mariota.
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Raiders have asked Mariota to take a pay cut. If he doesn't and no trade partner emerges, Mariota could be cut to save the Raiders some cap space.
Mariota is under contract for the Raiders at $10.725 million this year and under normal circumstances, he would probably be a hot trade candidate. However, his contract has escalators in it that would inflate his value if a team acquired him to be their starter. As a result, teams have been reluctant to make a trade for Mariota.
However, if Mariota does become a free agent, he believes he will have options on the market, according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo.
That definitely makes sense. Mariota only played in one game for the Raiders last year, but he looked good when on the field. He completed 60.7 percent of his passes for 226 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. The pick was arguably his only bad throw of the day.
Additionally, Mariota showed off great scrambling ability and racked up 88 yards and score on nine rushes in that game. That's one of the main reasons that he will appeal to teams. He's mobile, accurate, and fits what teams are looking for in a modern quarterback.
He deserves a chance to compete for a starting job. That's not available in Las Vegas with Derek Carr entrenched as the starter, so he'll probably want to go look for an opportunity.
The Raiders will have to part with Mariota officially before he can explore what options may be out there for him, but he would instantly be the best player available at the position on the open market. And after seeing the likes of Andy Dalton, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Cam Newton, Jameis Winston, and Tyrod Taylor all get paid at least $10 million on one-year deals, Mariota should have a chance to land something similar.
The only question is, which team might pursue Mariota? The Patriots and Bears signed Newton and Dalton respectively, but perhaps they could bring in Mariota to compete for a job. And maybe if the Texans are forced to move Deshaun Watson, Mariota could take a shot at reviving that franchise.
Buckle up, Ducks fans. The Mariota sweepstakes seems like it's just about to get started.