Raiders Rumors: Marcus Mariota Will Be Released or Traded Without New Contract

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 18, 2021

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The Las Vegas Raiders plan to offload Marcus Mariota by trading or releasing him if he doesn't accept a pay cut to $3 million ahead of the 2021 NFL season, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reported the veteran quarterback "believes he has options" elsewhere and will likely decline any cut to his $10.7 million salary for 2021.

Las Vegas signed the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner to an incentive-laden two-year contract last offseason.

Mike Garafolo @MikeGarafolo

Bit of clarity on the above 👆🏼: Some of these incentives and escalators overlap, meaning they can only be earned once. So max value for Marcus Mariota over two years, as @TomPelissero tweeted, is $37.5m.

The team intended for him to back up Derek Carr and potentially take over as the starter if Carr struggled, not unlike how Ryan Tannehill overtook Mariota for the starting job on the Tennessee Titans in 2019.

The 27-year-old made one appearance for the Raiders. He entered an eventual 30-27 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, finishing 17-of-28 for 226 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also ran for 88 yards and a touchdown on nine carries.

The Titans selected Mariota with the second overall pick in the 2015 draft but moved on for a reason. For his career, he has averaged 209.9 yards per game and completed 62.9 percent of his passes.

Even if a creative offensive coordinator can make use of his mobility, Mariota doesn't figure to be a good No. 1 option at quarterback.

Having said that, he might command more than the $3 million the Raiders apparently want him to accept.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the Chicago Bears gave Andy Dalton a one-year, $10 million deal, while Tyrod Taylor received a one-year contract worth up to $12.5 million from the Houston Texans.