Raiders are targeting free-agent QB Mariota
It may be time to put the Tom Brady to the Raiders rumors to rest. It sounds as if the Raiders won’t be moving on from quarterback Derek Carr, but rather they’re intent on getting his attention this off-season in the form of some competition.
The Raiders have real interest in Titans free-agent quarterback Marcus Mariota, according to the NFL Network’s Mike Garofolo. He reported Friday the team would like to have a veteran quarterback around who’s talented enough to be a threat to the starting job Carr’s held the past six seasons.
Of course, Garofolo’s report comes with the caveat Mariota, who lost his starting job to Ryan Tannehill last season, could find an easier path to a starting job elsewhere in the NFL. Both the Chargers and Colts seem to have fewer obstacles in Mariota’s way back onto the field, and he’s even been rumored to be a candidate to replace Brady, should the sixtime Super Bowl champ leave in free agency.
In addition, if Mariota was to sign with a team with a potentially vulnerable starter, the Bears with Mitch Trubisky would be more attractive.
The Raiders’ options for a veteran free-agent quarterback to come in to push Carr may include Teddy Bridgewater of the Saints or maybe even Washington’s Case Keenum, who is said to be focusing on finding a starting job. Of course, the Raiders — who have just DeShone Kizer still under contract as a backup candidate — could also decide to find a quarterback in the draft
to groom as Carr’s replacement.
The 26-year-old Mariota, who was the second overall pick in the 2015 draft and Raiders general manager Mike Mayock’s toprated quarterback ahead of top pick Jameis Winston, lost his starting job in Tennessee in Week 6
this past season. Before he was benched to allow for a breakout season for Tannehill, Mariota had been the Titans’ starter for four years and threw for 13,207 yards, 76 touchdowns and 44 interceptions.
“The guy completed 70 percent of his passes. He had almost a three-toone touchdown-to-interception ratio. I think we were No. 11 in the league in total yards, were seventh
in third-down conversions,” Mayock told reporters last week at the Combine. ‘The disconnect was we didn’t score a lot of points. You’re (No.) 11 in yards and (No.) 24 in points there’s an issue. It’s defense. It’s special teams. It’s not scoring in the red zone and not scoring in goal-to-go. To me, those are the issues. Derek Carr played at a high level. I’m very happy with Derek Carr.”