Philly Finally Signed the Quarterback I Wanted, 8 Years Later…

It was the 2015 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles were in year three under Chip Kelly who they had lured away from Oregon to be their head coach. With him came a fast paced, pass happy offense that wore out both defenses, and forced teams to run a virtual track meet all game long.

Having been hired away from Oregon, he was pulled away from the quarterback who had run his system to perfection at the college level. That player of course was Marcus Mariota the starting quarterback for the Oregon Ducks. Despite Kelly leaving, Mariota only got better. Each year he put up better numbers showing what he could be at the NFL level in the right system.

Rumors of a Trade

The season before Chip Kelly and the Eagles started veteran Sam Bradford at quarterback. Bradford was far from the ideal Quarterback for Kelly’s system but the Eagles still managed to find success with him at the helm. Just enough success that they did not land a top five pick in the 2015 draft. This meant if Kelly wanted the quarterback he once handpicked he would need to swing a trade with one of the teams at the top of the draft. Whether it was with Tampa or Tennessee remained to be seen.

Rumors began to swirl about what Kelly was willing to give up. The thought was no expense would be spared; after all this was the same man who helped push LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, and others out of town for a bag of chips and a second round pick.

At one point Peter Schrager made an appearance on Colin Cowherd stating Philadelphia had offered Tennessee: A 2015 first and second round pick, a 2016 first round pick, any quarterback and defensive player on the roster in exchange for just the second overall pick. Imagine the shake up that would have caused over the next few years.

Titans acquire Sam Bradford, and Fletcher Cox, as well as the draft picks that became Nelson Agholor, Eric Rowe, and Carson Wentz. A franchise altering trade indeed. All for Marcus Mariota a man who went on to have a solid career, but one that has led him to a backup job with the Eagles in 2023.

Trade Fallout

Alas the trade fell apart, with Tennessee opting to take the potential franchise quarterback, rather than the spoils this blockbuster trade would have sent. This went on to be a cautionary tale for future teams to go ahead and swing the trade setting your franchise up for many years rather than hoping one player equals the value of five.

During his time in the NFL, Mariota has appeared in 87 games he has attempted 2,095 passes completing 1,312 for a 62.6% career rate. He has compiled 15,656 passing yards with 92 touchdowns to 54 interceptions. His mobility is a large reason he is with the Eagles as the backup to Hurts. While Gardner Minshew was a great player to have as your QB2, the offense had to drastically change to accommodate him as the starter. Mariota however can run the read option and RPO game as well as Hurts.

In fact during his career he has run 349 times for 2,012 yards, and 17 touchdowns or 5.8 yards per carry. What better way to ensure your offense continues to roll over opponents like they did in 2022 with Hurts even if he’s injured? In my opinion there is no better player to have in that role going forward.

The Reality of the Situation

Over the past 8 years, Mariota has played for the Titans, Raiders, Falcons, and now Eagles. In each stop his role was slightly different. With Tennessee he was expected to be the face of the franchise and the Savior to bring them back to a Super Bowl. With the Raiders, he was the veteran backup with starting experience meant to push the starter for playing time. With Atlanta he was the bridge to their future with Desmond Ridder, a bridge that wasn’t needed for long.

Now in Philadelphia he is the clear cut backup to a quarterback who led his team to a Super Bowl this past season in his second year as the full-time starter. A man who no one would ask to be benched without a near catastrophic break down in Hurts’ play and development. However this could be exactly how Mariota extends his career. At 29 years old Mariota could still realistically be looked at as a starter for teams around the league.

Entering a New Chapter of his Career

However many quarterbacks have played well into their late 30’s in the exact role Mariota now finds himself in. He could pursue a starting position with another team likely mid-rebuild, or he could settle into the most comfortable backup quarterback job in the league for many years to come. While the Eagles did select Tanner McKee in the 2023 draft, I expect the 6th round pick to be at a minimum a 2-3 year development project.

Mariota right now is signed to a 1 year $5,000,000 deal with the Eagles, but if the Eagles like what they see now, they would be smart to try and re-sign Mariota to a multi year deal and lock in this bargain rate. A veteran backup who in many ways fits the offense Philly runs with Jalen Hurts as the starter is invaluable to a playoff team.

Solidifying your future at the quarterback position at all three levels: starter, top backup and developmental QB3, something every team should strive for. Mariota to his credit might currently reside on the most talented team he has ever played for. When/if he sees the field in 2023, I have full confidence in his ability to go out and win games for the Eagles.

If the Eagles like what they see during the preseason they should start talking multi-year deal with Mariota right away. The Eagles have a unique chance to lock up their entire quarterback room until 2026. They should jump at that opportunity and solidify the most important position on the team for many years to come.

Sponsor: Upside

This article and so much more is brought to you by Upside. Upside is a free not strings attached app that will pay you cashback for the purchases you already make. Gas, Groceries, or a Good Meal, with just 3 clicks, you can earn CashBack today at HUNDREDS of locations. Use our code Sam363682 to save an additional 15 cents per gallon on your next fuel purchase. With discounts up to 25 cents per gallon, you could earn 40 cents back per gallon on your first purchase. Again use our code Sam363682 at sign up. 


Please also help us continue growing on our YouTube Channel by subscribing if you haven’t already. Also like and comment on any videos you enjoy! Thank you for your support and we hope you continue to tune in! Tune in for Eagles Elite every Wednesday at 8:30 pm ET!

Leave a Reply