It didn’t take long for the Eagles to find a backup quarterback after Gardner Minshew departed Thursday to sign a free agent contract with the Indianapolis Colts.
Less than 12 hours later, the Eagles reportedly reached an agreement with Marcus Mariota, the No. 2 pick in the 2015 draft. ESPN first reported the signing Friday morning. Mariota reportedly signed a one-year deal worth $5 million and potentially up to $8 million to serve as the backup to Jalen Hurts.
The Eagles are also adding a cornerback, reportedly agreeing with ex-Cleveland Browns Greedy Williams, a 2019 second-round pick from LSU.
Williams played in 11 matches last season, starting one. He was a full-time starter as a rookie until injuring his hamstring after 12 games. But Williams could not play the entire 2020 season due to a shoulder injury. He has served as a backup since then, although he started 8 games in 2021.
For his career, Williams has two interceptions, both coming last season. Williams, who is 6-foot-2, is expected to provide depth outside behind Darius Slay and James Bradberry. Both recently re-signed with the Eagles.
Mariota, meanwhile, seemed predestined to be an Eagle in 2015. Subsequently, former coach and general manager Chip Kelly, who had won a power struggle with Rosman that season, made no secret of his desire to draft Mariota.
Mariota had played for Kelly at the University of Oregon, and was considered one of the top two quarterbacks in the draft along with Jameis Winston, who previously went to Tampa Bay.
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So the Eagles, with the No. 20 pick to draft Mariota, desperately tried to trade him to the Tennessee Titans at No. 2.
They couldn’t walk it out of the deal. 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.
That defensive player was believed to be 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 quarterback could have been either Sam Bradford, whom the Eagles traded just six weeks prior to the draft, or Mark Sanchez.
The Eagles drafted wide receiver Nelson Aghor in the first round and defensive tackle 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 as general manager. The following season, the Eagles put together a larger package and traded up to No. 2 pick to select Carson Wentz as quarterback.
As for Mariota, he started Week 1 for the Titans as a rookie, but he never became a 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 Mariota returned, he had lost his job to Ryan Tannehill, leading the Titans to a 7–3 finish and a playoff berth.
The following season, Mariota signed with the Las Vegas Raiders, serving as the backup to Derek Carr. He started 10 games in 2021 in place of the injured Carr. He went to the Atlanta Falcons last season as the starter after Atlanta 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 for a QB rating of 88.2 with 15 TDs and 9 interceptions. 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 started 74 games, going 34–40. He threw for 15,656 yards while completing 62.6% of his passes with 92 TDs and 54 INTs.
Contact Martin Frank at [email protected] Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.
This article was originally published on the Delaware News Journal: Eagles Sign QB Marcus Mariota 8 Years After Almost Trading For Him