Marcus Mariota hasn’t officially entered “draft bust” status, but he’s close.
Just four seasons after being taken second overall by the Tennessee Titans, Mariota was benched for another fledgling former first round quarterback, Ryan Tannehill. The ex-Dolphin not only renewed a somewhat average career into a AFC Championship game, but he’s looking at a cashing in this offseason.
As for Mariota, the guy Tannehill replaced, he’s looking to somehow replicate that same success, just somewhere else, and the options are endless.
Seriously, Mariota is a wild card right now, and given the right offense, he could find a second life in the NFL.
Imagine Mariota playing for Josh McDaniels in New England or Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco. Or what about playing in Tampa with QB Guru and head coach Bruce Arians. If some of those seem far fetched, then here might be some more realistic choices for Mariota.
Miami– Unless Josh Rosen somehow wows the Dolphins organization and beats out Ryan Fitzpatrick next season, Miami will be in the market for a quarterback.
Atlanta– Matt Ryan will turn 35 this season, and hasn’t shown signs of slowing down, and with quarterbacks playing into the late 30s and early 40s right now, this seems like an odd choice. However, in today’s NFL, the backup quarterback might be one of the most important and often overlooked positions in the game today. That is of course, until you actually need your backup to win some games. So why not Atlanta?
Seattle– No coach in the NFL probably knows the PAC-12 better than Seattle’s Pete Carroll, so why not take a shot at picking up Mariota on the cheap for a season to backup Russell Wilson. If Mariota gets any action in 2020 and plays well, all of a sudden he becomes a trade asset for the Seahawks.
Pittsburgh– After Ben Roethlisberger went down for the season, the Steelers played QB carousel with Mason Rudolph and Duck Hodges, with neither really separating themselves from the other. Mike Tomlin is one of the best coaches in football, so why not settle the backup spot and bring in Mariota, who at 26-years old, could still play 10 good seasons for you?
LA Chargers– I doubt this happens, simply because I think the Chargers are eyeing an immediate starter to take over, or a bridge gap quarterback should they select a passer in the first ten picks. Case Keenum has a better chance to sign with the Chargers as that bridge quarterback than Mariota, but it isn’t out of the realm of possibility either.
Chicago– The Bears seem stuck with Mitch Trubisky right now, but the easiest out for them, is to sign a quarterback that could somehow push for the starting job. I know that’s an odd thing to say about Mariota, who is in this very position right now because he himself got pushed out of Tennessee by Tannehill, however, this could work.
I don’t believe many people ranked the Titans in the top 10 or even 20 as far as quarterback situations going into the 2019 season, however they did just fine last year. Perhaps the Bears could become the 2019 Titans under center.
Las Vegas– If all these reports over the last couple of seasons are in any way valid, then perhaps the Raiders career of Derek Carr is coming to an end. Back in 2015, John Gruden, then with ESPN, thought pretty highly of Mariota, calling him Russell Wilson, only 6’4. He even suggested that Tampa should have take him over Jameis Winston first overall. Perhaps that fondness of Mariota is still there, and a fresh start in Las Vegas would do both coach and quarterback good.
Indy– The final team, would be the Colts. Everything coming out of Indianapolis seems to be that Jacoby Brissett isn’t the long term answer for the Colts, meaning they could be in the market for a quarterback this offseason. It could range from Philip Rivers to Winston to even Mariota. The Colts have a young football team and an offensive minded head coach in Frank Reich, and that could be the perfect mix for Mariota to renew his career.
The possibilities are endless right now for Marcus Mariota, even after a career that’s seen some highs and lows in just four seasons. Less than a season after being benched and loosing his job, Mariota could find a new life this offseason. It’s all there for him, he just has to make the right call. If history has shown us anything, it’s that in the NFL, the career of a quarterback can always be renewed given the right situation.