A few weeks ago, Bears fans were hoping Ryan Pace could end up finding a way to land starting quarterback Derek Carr. But, the Raiders have made it pretty clear they are sticking with Carr and he is not available for trade.
Mariota, on the other hand, is a hot commodity among a few teams. The Raiders have reportedly received interest in Mariota from multiple teams.
If the Bears were to take a shot on Mariota, they would likely only have to part with a mid-round pick. That seems like a much more reasonable cost than, say, a Deshaun Watson or Dak Prescott. Whether we’re talking money or draft compensation, the Bears don’t have what it takes to land either one of those guys.
Now, it seems like Mariota may be one of the lone veteran options available. Otherwise, it’s up to Pace and the 2021 NFL Draft to bring home their next quarterback.
Last year, Mariota played in just one game, subbing in for Carr against the Los Angeles Chargers late in the season. To much surprise, he played very well. Mariota finished 17-for-28, throwing for 226 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also rushed nine times for 88 yards and a score.
When looking at Mariota as a viable option, most fans don’t care enough to look back at the 2017 season where he did, in fact, start a pair of playoff games with the Tennessee Titans. Not only did Mariota play in a couple of postseason games, but he played very well.
In those two games, Mariota completed over 60 percent of his passes for 459 yards, four touchdowns and just one pick. He also rushed 12 times for 83 yards in those contests.
That may have been a few years ago, but comparing his play back then to how he looked in that single game against the Chargers is worth the time.
It’s notable that the Titans needed his best possible performances in the playoffs that year, and that when he filled in for Carr last season, the Raiders counted on him in a similarly clutch fashion. Funny enough, Mariota ran for more yards in that single game last season than he did in both of those playoff games in 2017.
Mariota knew that this lone game against Los Angeles may be his only chance to prove he’s still capable of playing in this league — and he took advantage of it.
The opportunity for the Bears to add a mobile quarterback like Mariota is certainly intriguing. Chicago has not had a quarterback like Mariota in recent history, and the most comparable in terms of a rushing skill set might be Mitchell Trubisky.
Mariota, though, is a bit quicker and has a lot more experience in using his legs. From back in his college days, Mariota has always been viewed as a dual threat. He may not present a challenge as big as Lamar Jackson, but his legs are worth keeping tabs on if you’re an opposing defense.
So, was last year’s one game performance enough to warrant a trade for Mariota? In a way, yes. He showed similar characteristics of his play a few years ago when he was a sure fire starter in Tennessee. Before the injuries and his mid-career downfall, Mariota was electric.
Last season, he showed he could potentially be the same player in limited playing time. Maybe the Bears wouldn’t be crazy to offer a pick for his services after all.