Marcus Mariota lands big contract pay day in Raiders' loss to Chargers

Katie Woo
·2 min read

Mariota earns big contract incentives in Raiders' loss originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Thursday night was a big one for Marcus Mariota. 

The Raiders' back-up quarterback promptly came off the bench for Las Vegas in the first quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers after starter Derek Carr left with an injury. Although the Raiders eventually fell in overtime, 30-27, the 27-year-old secured himself a hefty bonus in the process -- netting $825,000 in one night. 

Per ESPN's Field Yates, Mariota is designated to earn $200,000 each time he plays more than 60 percent of the Raiders' snaps per game. He qualified well past that mark, securing 86 percent of Las Vegas' snaps. 

Furthermore, the former Oregon product earned an additional $625,000 in 2021 -- on top of his fully-guaranteed base salary of $7.5 million -- since his incentive-heavy contract included the clause that playing in 60 percent of the snaps in any single game would result in the boost. 

Mariota did leave some money on the table, though. If the Raiders had won the game, Mariota would've taken home another $125,000 on top of his other earnings. Unfortunately for Las Vegas, Chargers quarterback (and fellow Oregon product) Justin Herbert rushed in the game-winning touchdown from the one-yard line to win the game in overtime. 

The loss wasn't for Mariota's lack of effort, however. The No. 2 overall pick in 2015 threw for 226 yards, a touchdown and an interception, while rushing for 88 yards and a touchdown of his own. 

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As in most NFL contracts, there is a loophole. There is a slight chance that Mariota wouldn't see the aforementioned $625,000 since his pay for 2021 is not guaranteed like his pay in 2020 is. Still, there are reasons to believe that Mariota could see more time with the Silver and Black this year, as there's a chance Carr's season could be over with a groin injury. The 29-year-old departed the game after scrambling on a third-and-goal, and head coach Jon Gruden told reporters after the game that Carr's injury is "significant."

Gruden said Friday that he gives Carr a 50-50 shot at playing next Saturday against the Miami Dolphins, saying that Carr is still quite sore.

If Carr can't go, Mariota's work is far from over, as he'll be tasked with a heavy feat in leading the Raiders over the Dolphins' strong defense in Week 16 and potentially, the Denver Broncos in Week 17. Las Vegas will need to win out -- and have some fortuitous luck -- in order to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2016. 

If he has it his way, he'll land both wins -- and two-more $125,000 payouts.