After a rough 5-year stretch in the Music City, it is extremely likely that the Titans are going to move on from Marcus Mariota. The former 2nd overall pick had a mediocre tenure in Nashville, going 29-32 as a starter and 1-1 in the playoffs, while never being named to the Pro Bowl. With a stacked quarterback free agent class, Mariota may have trouble finding a starting job, but he will surely get signed. Here are the 5 most likely landing spots for Marcus Mariota.
#5: New England Patriots
Marcus Mariota going to the Patriots would be very conditional. If Tom Brady stays in New England, he would obviously have take on the backup role. Whether or not he’s okay with being a backup is unknown, but he certainly won’t like sitting if it doesn’t come with a good price. If Brady does leave, Mariota is a top 3 candidate for the Patriots starting job, along with Andy Dalton and Teddy Bridgewater. Bill Belichick would love to get creative with a mobile quarterback like Mariota too.
#4: New Orleans Saints
The situation in which Mariota would go to the Big Easy is similar to the one in New England. If both Drew Brees and Teddy Bridgewater depart, Mariota would be a prime candidate for the job. He and Taysom Hill are both great athletes for the quarterback position, and could add a new dimension to the Saints offense.
However, the Saints likely will bring back Brees, but not Bridgewater, so in that scenario, Mariota would once again become a backup. The Saints do like to pay their backup QBs (Bridgewater was paid $7.2 million last year), and Mariota would replace the loss of Teddy Two Gloves.
#3: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
How ironic would it be for Mariota to succeed the only man drafted before him? The Bucs have $90 million in cap room and a decision to make on Jameis Winston, who will command a contract of about $30 million annually.
Tampa has lots of holes to address, bringing back 2019 sacks leader Shaq Barrett will take away some space, and shoring up an offensive line that allowed 47 sacks in 2019 will be very important, as running backs for the Buccaneers averaged just 3.7 yards per carry. Mariota would be a cheaper option than Winston, and likely won’t throw 30 interceptions in a season either.
#2: Chicago Bears
The Monsters of the Midway would be #1 on this list if not for their firing of offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich, who was Mariota’s head coach at Oregon in 2014 when he won the Heisman Trophy. Reuniting the two would make sense, but just because Helfrich is gone doesn’t mean Mariota wouldn’t fit be a good fit for the Bears.
Ryan Pace needs to bring in a quarterback to put pressure on Trubisky and have a fail-safe if he starts the season rough, as the Titans did with Tannehill for Mariota. Mariota would likely be content taking a deal as a backup knowing that he could easily get the chance to play in meaningful games. It would be a win-win for both him and the Bears.
#1: Los Angeles Chargers
Mariota is most likely the Chargers’ third choice in terms of realistic options. There is hope in LA for Tom Brady and Teddy Bridgewater, but Brady likely won’t want to play behind the Chargers’ offensive line and signing Bridgewater isn’t a sure bet.
LA could sign Mariota for an amount much cheaper than Brady or Bridgewater while addressing other roster holes. Mariota would likely compete with Tyrod Taylor for the starting job, or if the Chargers draft Justin Herbert, Mariota could mentor a fellow Oregon attendee. The Chargers starting quarterback job is up for grabs, and Mariota could easily land it.