For pretty much the entire offseason, Philadelphia Eagles rumors have solely focused on the quarterback position. That changed some back in February when general manager Howie Roseman dealt Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts.
At least initially, it seemed as if Philadelphia was prepared to go with 2020 second-round pick Jalen Hurts as its unquestioned starter for next season. Almost immediately after the Wentz trade, reports surfaced that Hurts was in no way guaranteed to land the starting gig.
We now have more information on this courtesy of Ben Standig of The Athletic. That could include bringing in veteran competition, via either free agency or the NFL trade market.
“Philadelphia wouldn’t seem like an obvious landing spot — Jalen Hurts remains, and Mariota and Carson Wentz are repped by the same agency — one prominent league source said to keep an eye on the Eagles if Mariota is traded or released,” the NFL insider noted.
The Las Vegas Raiders’ willingness to trade Marcus Mariota after he inked a modest two-year, $17.6 million contract last spring has been talked about at length over the past few weeks. Mariota, 27, looked decent in limited snaps behind Derek Carr.
This situation is tricky for the Eagles and other teams that might be looking to add Mariota. He boasts a mere $10.63 million base salary for 2021. However, incentives could bring that number all the way up to $22 million. That includes number of snaps played, starts and playoff incentives.
Looking at it logically, the $10.63 million base salary would make sense if the Eagles view Mariota as a top-end backup option. Obviously, the $22 million is starter-caliber money.
A second-round pick out of Oklahoma back in 2020, Hurts looked pretty good when he replaced an ineffective Wentz under center last season.
The former Heisman finalist threw for 1,061 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions in four starts. He also added 354 yards and three scores on the ground, giving Philadelphia a nice dual threat option under center.
Following the trade of Wentz, Philadelphia has only Hurts under contract heading into NFL free agency. Seen as a favorite of the organization, Nate Sudfeld is set to hit the unrestricted free-agent market.
It’s not yet known what it would take to acquire Mariota. Previous reports suggested that a number of teams were interested in his services. Now, it looks like the former Tennessee Titans No. 2 pick could be released outright. Las Vegas would save $10.73 million against the cap if it went that route.
As for the Eagles’ quarterback situation, acquiring Mariota for a mere mid-to-late round pick could be seen as a better option than Philadelphia exhausting the sixth pick of the 2021 NFL Draft on a quarterback. That’s especially true with Hurts having not been given a real chance to prove his worth as a potential franchise quarterback.
All of this is coming up at a time when the Eagles’ brass finds itself headed for an important offseason. Their decision to move on from veteran receivers DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery makes that position of utmost importance. Regardless of who is under center in 2021, these Eagles must improve their skill-position group.
For now, it seems like Mariota is a legitimate option to at least back up Hurts next season in Philadelphia.