It didn’t take long for the Eagles to find a backup quarterback after Gardner Minshew left Thursday to sign a free agent contract with the Indianapolis Colts.
Less than 12 hours later, the Eagles reportedly reached agreement with Marcus Mariota, the No. 2 pick in the 2015 draft. ESPN first reported the signing early Friday morning. Mariota reportedly signed a one-year deal worth $5 million and potentially worth up to $8 million to serve as Jalen Hurts’ backup.
But back in 2015, former Eagles head coach Chip Kelly, who that season also served as general manager after winning a power struggle with Howie Roseman, made no secret of his desire to draft Mariota, who played for him at the University of Oregon.
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That spring, the Eagles, picking at No. 20, tried desperately to trade with the Tennessee Titans, picking at No. 2, in order to draft Mariota.
There were reports that Kelly offered the Titans the Eagles’ 2015 first- and second-round picks, their 2016 first-round pick, any quarterback on their roster and any defensive player on their roster in exchange for the No. 2 overall pick. It was believed that defensive player was Fletcher Cox, who was entering his fourth season. That season, Cox was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first of six straight seasons.
The trade never materialized and the Eagles ended up drafting wide receiver Nelson Agholor in the first round and defensive back Eric Rowe in the second round. Both are still in the NFL, but on different teams.
As it turned out, Kelly was fired after the season and Roseman was reinstated. The following season, the Eagles did put together a big package and traded up to No. 2 to select Carson Wentz as the quarterback.
As for Mariota, he started Week 1 as a rookie in 2015, but he never became the Titans franchise quarterback. He spent his first five seasons in Tennessee, but an elbow injury early in the 2019 season caused him to miss several games. When he returned, he had lost his job to Ryan Tannehill, who rallied the Titans to a 7-3 finish and a playoff berth.
The following season, Mariota signed with the Las Vegas Raiders, serving as a backup to Derek Carr. He started 10 games in place of the injured Carr in 2021. He then went to the Atlanta Falcons last season as a starter after Atlanta had selected Desmond Ridder in the third round of the draft.
But Mariota was benched late in the season after starting 13 games. He completed 61.3% of his passes with 15 TDs and 9 interceptions with a QB rating of 88.2. A week later, Mariota was placed on injured reserve with a chronic knee injury. Falcons coach Arthur Smith said at the time that the injury had nothing to do with the benching.
For his career, Mariota has started 74 games, going 34-40. He has thrown for 15,656 yards, completing 62.6% of his passes with 92 TDs and 54 INTs.
Contact Martin Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.