Report: Trade talks have slowed for Raiders QB Marcus Mariota due to contract incentives

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Levi Damien
·2 min read
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On the surface, Marcus Mariota’s contract looks perfect for a team looking for a potential starter this coming season. So, reports that the Raiders were fielding a lot of calls from teams looking to acquire him in trade. But according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the market for Mariota has slowed due to incentives written into his contract that would bring his salary close to $24 million should he indeed become a full time starter.

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The issues with the contract beg the question as to whether the Raiders would just release Mariota rather than paying him $11.4 million this season as a backup. The Raiders have cap issues and major needs on the team, especially on the defense that would outweigh the value Mariota provides as a backup quarterback.

The former number two overall pick and Titans starter was signed by the Raiders as a free agent last offseason. His two-year contract made him a well-paid backup with significant incentives should he win the starting job.

Nagging injuries and the lack of a real NFL offseason ruled out any possibility Mariota would compete for a starting job with incumbent starter Derek Carr going into last season. And a season in which Carr threw for 4103 yards, 27 TDs and 9 interceptions appears to have the Raiders sticking with Carr.

When Carr went out with a groin injury in the team’s week 14 game against the Chargers, Mariota came in and looked quite capable, which turned a lot of heads by NFL teams in need of a capable starter. The Patriots had been among those said to have interest.

It’s rather strange to me that these teams that were interested in Mariota as a potential starter are now getting cold feet about paying him should he earn the starting job. It’s not like it’s a long term commitment. Even $24 million would be a middle-of-the-pack deal for a QB.