Don't look now, but Marcus Mariota may be a starting NFL quarterback as soon as next season.
Michael Lombardi of The Athletic, during an appearance on The Rap with Patrick Meagher, reported the Washington Football Team is "extremely interested" in trading for the former Oregon Ducks quarterback.
"There's a lot of conversations about Mariota being traded. I know there's one team in the NFC East, the Washington Football Team, that's extremely interested in Mariota," said Lombardi.
Last offseason, Mariota agreed to a two-year, $17.6 million deal with Las Vegas that had a first-year guarantee of $7.5 million with some incentives for playing time.
Per the details of his contract, Mariota’s cap number will be just above $10.7 million in 2021. That's an expensive rate for a backup quarterback, but his salary will double
If an NFL team does trade for Mariota, Lombardi speculates it would likely come with a renegotiation of his contract terms given how many incentives are hidden on his current contract.
"Mariota's problem is simply this: Mariota's due to make $10 million this year, if you trade for that contract and you make him your starter that contract is $20 million because he has so many incentives in that contract. So it's going to be very challenging for you to trade for him without redoing that contract."
For the majority of the season, Mariota was the backup to Carr for the Raiders but did see some time on the field in Week 15 vs. fellow former Oregon Duck quarterback Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers.
In that game, Mariota balled out - completing 60.7 percent of his passes for 226 passing yards, a touchdown, and one interception.
He also had 88 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground as well.
It wouldn’t be the worst move for Washington to go for Mariota. He does have experience (64 career games), he is mobile, a strong arm, and is still young at the age of 27.
Washington re-signed Taylor Heinicke to a two-year, $4.75 million deal that includes $1.5 million guaranteed with a $1 million signing bonus according to JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington. His cap hit in 2021 is $1,593,750 and in 2022 is $2.75 million.
Reigning NFL Comeback Player of the Year Alex Smith has no more guaranteed money remaining on his contract and given his of 37, he may retire sooner than later.