After reports circulated that the Las Vegas Raiders are looking to extend starting QB Derek Carr and the Raiders moved to re-sign Nathan Peterman to a one-year deal, the writing is on the wall for Marcus Mariota.
Las Vegas may be motivated to move the former first-round quarterback out of Oregon, who was expected to be a hot commodity on the NFL trade market this offseason.
But as NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday, there’s reason to believe the Raiders could release Mariota from the second year of his contract rather than trade him due to incentives in his contract.
"A couple of days ago, it really seemed like Marcus Mariota was going to be on the move," Rapoport said. "I know teams were interested, were calling the Las Vegas Raiders about potentially acquiring Marcus Mariota. Things did get down the line a little bit. There is significant interest in teams trying to get Marcus Mariota ... but there is an issue. Take a look at his contract. He's due a little more than $10 million this year. If he's going to be a bridge starter, which would be the role he'd come in and play, that's not bad. That's actually not the issue.
"The issue is based on incentives. If he is the starter and ends up playing the entire season, he can make an additional $12 million, so more than $20 million for Marcus Mariota. Teams, as of right now, don't seem to think that's something that would be worth it, especially when you consider they'd also give up a draft pick to trade for him. That trade market has now dried up significantly."
If the Raiders decided to cut Mariota, they would save more than $11.35 million in 2021. Mariota, who has a 29-32 career record, played just one game for the Raiders last season, throwing for 226 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 88 yards and another score in Week 15 vs. the Justin Herbert-led Chargers.
Being released vs. traded could bode well for Mariota in terms of negotiating a new contract with his future NFL employer. As of now, betting odds still favor the former Oregon product as a member of the New England Patriots in 2021. According to SportsBetting.com, Mariota is listed with 5/2 odds (+250) to be the Patriots’ next starting quarterback.