The NFL was (very) busy on Monday, with big names from DeAndre Hopkins to DeForest Buckner changing teams on the first day of the league’s legal tampering period. While the Las Vegas Raiders made bigger headlines surrounding the cancellation of public events for the NFL Draft, Mike Mayock, Jon Gruden and company were still busy, reportedly adding a signal-caller to their depth chart in the form of former No. 2 overall pick Marcus Mariota.
— NFL (@NFL) March 17, 2020
It was a poorly kept secret that Mayock, one of the Raiders’ decision-makers in the front office, was in love with Mariota in the 2015 NFL Draft, ranking him as his No. 1 quarterback in a class that also featured Jameis Winston. Along the way, Mariota had some strong moments with the Tennessee Titans but, in 2019, he lost his job to Ryan Tannehill and the Titans recently invested a (very) lucrative contract in their new full-time starter.
That left Mariota searching for work and, while Derek Carr remains the starter in Las Vegas, there has been enough buzz around his perch at the top of the depth chart to make things interesting. Make no mistake, Carr will enter the season as the starter, provided he is on the roster, but Mariota has pedigree and might be a “change of scenery” guy after a few years in the Tennessee wilderness.
At the age of 26, Mariota still has 75 touchdowns compared to 44 interceptions in his NFL career — headlined by a 26-touchdown, nine-interception season in 2016 — and there will be some intrigue as to how he’ll perform in a new location. Throw in the Mayock connection and this is a partnership that was foreseeable, yet still worth monitoring in the coming days.