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Could Marcus Mariota revive his career with Jon Gruden in Las Vegas?

Frank Schwab
·2-min read

Marcus Mariota has had NFL success.

It doesn’t seem like that’s the case, since he has been dormant for so many seasons. But the No. 2 overall pick of the 2015 NFL draft had a good rookie season with the Tennessee Titans and a fantastic stretch during his second season. Then, injuries set in. He lost his job to Ryan Tannehill last season. He’s back to square one, relatively speaking.

Mariota is a free agent and certainly has an interesting pedigree as a former Heisman Trophy winner. Perhaps he just needs to find the right second home. Speculation on Friday was that perhaps the Las Vegas Raiders could be that team.

Could Marcus Mariota fit in with Las Vegas?

Every half-baked NFL idea seems to get connected to the Raiders since Jon Gruden took over as coach, so take the Mariota speculation for what it’s worth.

But NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo reported that the Raiders will be interested, with caveats that Mariota will have other options and the Raiders will look into other quarterbacks. But the report also stated the Raiders would be more interested in a “1B” backup like Mariota than a big move like signing Tom Brady.

There are a lot of moving parts and the report doesn’t exactly indicate a move is imminent. But it is an intriguing possibility.

Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota is set to become a free agent. (AP Photo/James Kenney, File)
Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota is set to become a free agent. (AP Photo/James Kenney, File)

Mariota looking for a good fit

Mariota shouldn’t be viewed as an upgrade over Derek Carr. But the Raiders are in a new market in Las Vegas and there has been endless speculation that Carr will be replaced. The Raiders presumably would want a new, big star in a new city, but it’s not like it’s easy to land a star quarterback. Mariota would be a pragmatic gamble.

Mariota seems unlikely to find himself landing a starting job in free agency, so he has to figure out his best move. It is probably with a team that isn’t settled at quarterback, that likes his skill set (Garafolo pointed out that Raiders general manager Mike Mayock had Mariota as his No. 1 quarterback in the 2015 draft class when he was NFL Network’s draft analyst) and can rebuild his confidence.

Mariota is at a crossroads of his career. He doesn’t want to get much more distance from those brief flashes of glory with the Titans. He has to choose his next move wisely, and the Raiders do, too.

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