The Detroit Lions should entertain signing pending free agent Marcus Mariota.
Marcus Mariota was never able to live up to the college hype but remains a great teammate by all accounts and a serviceable NFL quarterback. Mariota was selected second overall by the Tennessee Titans in the 2015 NFL Draft, where he served as the starting quarterback for his first four and a half seasons.
During those four-plus years as a starter, Mariota guided the Titans to a 29-32 record, tossing for 13,207 yards, 76 touchdowns, and 44 interceptions which translates to a quarterback rating of 89.6. During that stretch, Mariota nearly 63% of his pass attempts and averaged 7.5 yards per attempt.
Goff is averaging 6.4 yards per attempt and completing just over 67% of his passes to give you a fair comparison. That respectable completion percentage is inflated due to Goff’s willingness to check the football down so often rather than pushing the football downfield.
Mariota isn’t considered a franchise quarterback, but perhaps he’d be a better option than Jared Goff in Detroit. Mariota isn’t specifically just a running quarterback, he has the ability to sit in the pocket and make the throws, but he is exceptionally mobile when the opportunity to scramble arises. Unlike Goff, he can make things happen when the play breaks down.
Mariota is in the final year of his contract and will earn a mere $3.5 million in 2021. The Detroit Lions need to strongly consider bringing in the 28-year old veteran on a one or two-year deal to compete with Goff for the starting job heading into 2022 while they continue to search for their long-term answer at the position, possibly at the top of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Over the past two seasons, Mariota has backed up Derek Carr in Vegas, perhaps having another opportunity to build his resume and be a starting quarterback will entice the pending free agent to a rebuilding Detroit club.
I’d expect Mariota to sign a one or two-year deal that averages about $5 million per season.