Detroit Lions: Ten Free Agents to target this offseason

(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Lions
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QB Marcus Mariota

Sure, this isn’t a premier signing, but looking back to last season, and if we can be completely candid, the Detroit Lions have required a reliable backup quarterback for years.  Marcus Mariota will be hard-pressed to find a starting job next season, but he has the potential to be the ‘Teddy Bridgewater‘ of last season in 2020.

Sure, Mariota isn’t quite as talented as Bridgewater but has plenty of the same tools.  Throughout his career, he hasn’t been able to deploy the talent at the NFL level that we saw when the Titans selected him second overall in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Mariota has settled into a game manager; he’s a poor man’s, Alex Smith.  That isn’t all bad.  When teams sign backup quarterbacks, they are looking for good character guys, guys that are good in the film room.  Having a veteran back-up rather than a rookie will benefit Matthew Stafford greatly.  It’s nice to have another pair of eyes breaking down film, identifying coverages, and pre-game prep work.

Rookie quarterbacks usually sit and learn behind veteran QB’s, and one could assume offer limited assistance in an NFL film room.  Mariota would be a significant upgrade to the revolving door of quarterbacks we saw dawn the Honolulu blue last season.

Mariota is the perfect insurance policy for Stafford.  If Matt were to suffer an injury, it wouldn’t automatically be a lost season, Marcus has the potential to step in and keep the ship afloat.  It would be unlikely the Lions would keep three quarterbacks but could try and keep David Blough or Jeff Driskel on the practice squad next season.

Darrell Bevell had plenty of success in Seattle with Russell Wilson, now, Mariota isn’t anywhere near as talented, but he’s mobile and can improvise when needed.

Last season Mariota threw for 7 touchdowns and 2 interceptions before giving way to Ryan Tannehill.  Through parts of five seasons, Mariota completed 63% of his passes, totaling 13,207 yards, 76 touchdowns, and 44 interceptions.