The New England Patriots are in the market for their third starting quarterback in as many seasons, and one of the best remaining options came off the board on Thursday when the Indianapolis Colts agreed to acquire Carson Wentz from the Philadelphia Eagles.
Though the Patriots never showed any interest in trading for Wentz, he went for a relatively cheap haul, so it wouldn’t be surprising if the front office was kicking themselves for at least not submitting an offer. Either way, there’s no sense harping on that deal with such an important decision waiting to be made.
Speaking of which, the latest buzz indicates that the Patriots are keen on acquiring another veteran as opposed to using one of their early-round draft picks for one of top young prospects.
That makes Marcus Mariota a realistic option for New England, especially when you consider that they might not have to give up much of anything to land him. Per Patriots reporter Evan Lazar of CLNS Media, the former No. 2 overall pick could go for as little as a fifth-round pick, or potentially even less than that, this offseason.
Should the Patriots trade for Raiders backup quarterback Marcus Mariota?
The Patriots are habitual asset hoarders, and Mariota’s reported trade value aligns perfectly with how they generally conduct business. We also know they tend to want to take advantage of desperate teams on the trade front, and the Raiders’ atrocity of a salary cap situation evidently has them ready to ship Mariota out of town by any means necessary.
According to Over the Cap, the Raiders currently have over $30 million (!) committed to the quarterback position for next season. They’re also projected to be close to $19 million over cap. Mariota will only account for a $10.725 million cap hit, but getting his contract off the books would go a long way towards Las Vegas’ quest to get back under the threshold.
The Patriots obviously have enough financial flexibility to absorb Mariota’s cap hit, and though we would normally advocate against trading for somebody on an expiring deal, the fact that they could get away with acquiring him for a fifth-rounder (at most) makes that irrelevant here.
It goes without saying that Mariota underperformed during his final years with the Titans. However, he’s still just 27 years old and has the requisite intangibles (mobility, accuracy, decision-making, etc.) that would entice a quarterback-needy team like the Patriots.
We certainly don’t love Mariota as the long-term solution under center for New England, but his reported trade value coupled with the Raiders being desperate to unload his contract suddenly makes a trade between the two teams feel a lot more feasible.