The Eagles finally did the deal.
Years after endless speculation about Chip Kelly’s Eagles possibly trading up to draft Marcus Mariota, the former first-round pick has finally landed in Philadelphia … now as a backup.
The Eagles are signing Mariota to a one-year deal that's worth $5 million and could be worth up to $8 million, a league source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia. ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported the deal.
And Mariota also posted on his Instagram story: “Go Birds” with the eagle emoji.
Mariota, 29, will become the Eagles’ new backup quarterback behind Jalen Hurts. Former backup Gardner Minshew left for the Indianapolis Colts in free agency on Thursday. Third-stringer Ian Book is still on the roster.
Mariota was once a star at Oregon, where he won the Heisman Trophy and was one of the top prospects in the 2015 draft class. With Kelly in charge with the Eagles, there were a ton of rumors that the Eagles were going to trade up to land Mariota.
But instead, Mariota was the second pick in the draft to Tennessee and Kelly was fired before the end of the 2015 season. Since then, Howie Roseman has been back in charge of the front office and has built two different Super Bowl rosters. Adding Mariota eight years later is a nice touch from Roseman.
Last season, Mariota started 13 games for the Falcons. He had a 5-8 record, completing 61.3% of his passes for 2,219 yards, with 15 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. He was fine but that organization is moving on with Desmond Ridder.
And at this point in his career, Mariota makes sense as a high-level backup. He was a starter with the Titans for five seasons but then was a backup with the Raiders before his one season with the Falcons. In his career, Mariota has a 34-40 record, has completed 62.6 percent of his passes with 92 touchdowns and 54 interceptions.
But the fun part of his game, and the reason this fit is so natural, is Mariota’s running ability. In those 13 starts last year, Mariota rushed for 438 yards and 4 touchdowns. Having a backup with that ability means the Eagles’ offense won’t have to look much different if Hurts ever misses time.
It’s also important to note that Mariota was released by the Falcons in February, which means he won’t count toward the compensatory pick formula. The Eagles have lost plenty of free agents this offseason and expect to bring back the maximum four comp picks for next year’s draft.
Subscribe to the Eagle Eye podcast
Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | Watch on YouTube