Is backing up Russell Wilson what’s next for Marcus Mariota? It could be...

Joe Fann
NBC Sports Northwest

Is there any shine left on Marcus Mariota's star? 

That's what we're going to find out this offseason as Mariota is set to become an unrestricted free agent when the new league year begins in March. The former No. 2 overall pick in 2015 has fallen from the pedestal of the Titans franchise QB to a signal-caller whose future is a gigantic question mark.  

Mariota was benched after six games (2-4) in 2019 in favor of Ryan Tannehill, a fellow first-round flameout… or so we thought. Tannehill sparked a turnaround in Tennessee and led the Titans to a 9-7 record and a Wild Card berth in the postseason. The Titans magic continued through the Wild Card Round against the Patriots and the Divisional Round against the top-seeded Ravens – two stunning upsets. Tennessee lost on Sunday to the Chiefs in the Divisional Round, and the Titans must now decide what they want to do at quarterback in 2020. 

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The one thing that feels evident is that it won't be Mariota.  

The former Oregon Duck has a 29-32 record in 61 games as a starter with 13,207 passing yards, 76 touchdowns and 44 interceptions. The highlight of his five seasons in Tennessee was a playoff win against the Chiefs in 2017.  

Now, he'll presumably pursue an opportunity to compete for a starting job elsewhere. Here is a list of teams that could potentially sign Mariota in such a capacity: Dolphins, Chargers (if Rivers leaves), Colts, Bears and Panthers.  

There's no guarantee any of those clubs will view Mariota as the stopgap QB they want running the show in 2020. Should all of them pass, Mariota would then be relegated to taking a backup job (or even competing for a backup job). That won't be a problem. 

On that note, the Seattle Seahawks will be in the market for a backup quarterback as Geno Smith is also scheduled to be a free agent. Mariota's mobility and experience as a starter could potentially be a perfect fit behind Russell Wilson. From Seattle's standpoint, the Seahawks could do much worse for an insurance policy should Wilson miss a game for the first time in his career. 

There's potential that Mariota would welcome a return to the Pacific Northwest. Seattle is about as close to the quarterback's home of Hawaii as you can get in the NFL, and he's already familiar with the region from his college days. 

This scenario is purely speculation at this point, but it's not one that can be ruled out. 

Isbacking up Russell Wilson whats next for Marcus Mariota?It could be... originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

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