What happened to Marcus Mariota? How the NFL Draft ‘bust’ found its way into the Raiders’ offense

What happened to Marcus Mariota? How the NFL Draft 'bust' found its way into the Raiders' offense

From No. 2 overall to No. 2 on the depth chart, Marcus Mariota has carved out an interesting career for himself.

Once a highly touted prospect coming out of Oregon, the former Tennessee Titan settled into a backup role with the Raiders, and he settled in well. After a few years of ups and downs with the Titans, Mariota stuck with the Raiders in 2020.

While the “draft bust” label will follow Mariota for the rest of his career, his Raiders tenure has resulted in surprising use within the offense in 2021 after spending the entirety of the 2020 season on the bench supporting Derek Carr. Mariota could end up as a high-quality substitute, or in a Taysom Hill-type role after the 2021 season if

Here’s how Mariota’s career went from being a draft stopper to a dual-threat backup:

What happened to Marcus Mariota?

Mariota was something of a victim of circumstance at Tennessee: He had two head coaches in his first three seasons and four offensive coordinators in his first five seasons. It’s a tough situation for any rookie quarterback to handle.

Through it all, he was pretty inconsistent and had some bearing issues, something that didn’t really show up in college.

Mariota’s environment aside, he’s been something of an injury magnet since entering the league, getting injured every year. except 2019, ironically, the year he was benched for Ryan Tannehill.

  • In 2021, he suffered a quad injury in the Raiders’ season opener. It would be placed on IR. The injury was an aggravation of an earlier quad injury in preseason.
  • In 2020, Mariota suffered a pectoral injury that sidelined him for five games.
  • In 2018, he suffered an elbow injury and a neck sting that forced him to sit out two games.
  • In 2017, he suffered a hamstring injury which ruled him out for one game.
  • In 2016, Mariota broke his fibula in Week 16 against the Jaguars.
  • In 2015, he suffered an MCL sprain in his right knee twice, with the second sprain ending his season prematurely.

Mariota ended his Titans career with the fifth-year option. He played in 63 games in five seasons, throwing 76 touchdowns for 45 interceptions in five seasons at Tennessee. Tannehill’s quarry revival in Tennessee played a big part in Mariota’s release.

However, he wouldn’t stay out of work long: Mariota signed a two-year, $17.6 million deal with the Raiders ahead of the 2020 season, reportedly signaling a challenge to incumbent starter Derek Carr.

With the Raiders, Mariota found a niche for himself: In 2020, he was purely the Raiders’ quarterback, taking his only shots of the season in Week 15 as relief from an injured Derek Carr.

In 2021, Mariota’s role has evolved into something of a gimmick player for the Vegas attack. Mariota had three snaps in the first 11 weeks of the season (most of which were missed due to injury), but his role expanded at the start of Week 12.

The Raiders have used Mariota primarily as an optional quarterback: He has just 24 snaps this season, only three of which come in the form of assists. Most of his snaps came as a runner (13) and the remaining eight snaps came during transfers.

Marcus Mariota Contract

Prior to 2020, Mariota signed a two-year contract worth up to $17.6 million with the Raiders. The contract included $7.5 million in guarantees.

Mariota and the Raiders restructured his contract as 2021 approached: Mariota signed a one-year deal with $3.5 million guaranteed. He can earn more with incentives, up to $8 million, by Spotrac.

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