The Philadelphia Eagles have a new backup quarterback in the fold.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Eagles are signing Marcus Mariota to a one-year deal worth $5 million. The move comes shortly after former backup QB Gardner Minshew signed with the Indianapolis Colts.
“Former Falcons’ QB Marcus Mariota reached agreement with the Philadelphia Eagles on a one-year, $5 million deal worth up to $8 million, per source,” says Schefter. “Mariota is expected to be the Eagles’ No. 2 QB this season.”
As Schefter notes, the Eagles actually previously wanted Mariota when he was entering the 2015 NFL draft.
“Back in the 2015 draft, the Eagles under Chip Kelly desperately tried to trade up in order to select Marcus Mariota,” said Schefter. “Eight years later, Mariota finally winds up in Philadelphia.”
How Eagles Previously Attempted to Acquire Marcus Mariota
Chris Franklin of NJ Advance Media details how then-head coach Chip Kelly tried to draft his former college quarterback from the University of Oregon.
“When Mariota was coming out of Oregon, there was a clamor around Philadelphia for the Eagles to find a way to move up in the draft and take him, using slogans such as ‘Do the deal’ to implore the Eagles to find a way to move up and take him,” says Franklin. “Former Eagles head coach Chip Kelly also wanted to reunite with his former college quarterback and run his high-tempo offense. However, the Eagles did not trade up to grab him second overall. Instead, the Eagles selected wide receiver Nelson Agholor with the pick.”
Why Eagles Are Signing Marcus Mariota
The 29-year-old quarterback has a plethora of experience as a starting quarterback, having been selected No. 2 overall by the Tennessee Titans in the 2015 NFL draft. More recently, Mariota starred as the starting quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons last season, starting all 13 of his appearances before being replaced in the starting lineup by rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder.
Mariota’s best asset is the fact that he’s a dual-threat quarterback, which fits perfectly in the Eagles’ RPO-style offense. Not only is he more similar to starting quarterback Jalen Hurts’ skill set compared to his predecessor, Minshew, he simply suits Philadelphia’s offense better than Minshew.
Despite appearing in only 13 games last season, Mariota ran for 438 rushing yards. That number ranked Mariota sixth among all quarterbacks. Furthermore, his yards per carry (5.2) ranked higher than Hurts’ per carry average (4.6).
During the 2022 season, Mariota posted respectable numbers for a rebuilding Falcons squad, throwing 15 touchdowns versus nine interceptions for 7.4 yards per pass attempt.
Over the course of Mariota’s career, he has started 74 of his 87 appearances, going 34-40 as a starting quarterback. He also has a playoff appearance to his name, having led the Titans to a playoff win at the conclusion of the 2017 season in a comeback win over the Kansas City Chiefs. The Titans trailed by 18 points at halftime in that game.
Outside of his stints with the Titans and Falcons as a starting quarterback, Mariota has experience as a backup, which should prepare him in Philadelphia. The veteran quarterback previously served as Derek Carr’s backup with the Las Vegas Raiders for two seasons in 2020 and 2021.
Across eight seasons, Mariota has 92 touchdowns versus 54 interceptions for 15,656 passing yards and an 89.3 passer rating.