In 2015, the thirst was real. Eagles coach Chip Kelly was willing to offer anything not nailed down to move up in the draft and select Marcus Mariota.
Mariota was all the rage, a running and passing machine at Oregon. Mariota, the Heisman Trophy winner in 2014, was a Ducks freshman in Kelly’s final year in Eugene.
According to Fox Sports, Kelly wanted the Titans’ No. 2 pick and was willing to mortgage the Eagles’ future to get it. This is the haul Kelly allegedly offered to the Titans, according to Fox Sports:
- 2015 first-round pick (20th overall)
- 2015 second-round pick (47th overall)
- 2016 first-round pick (13th overall)
- Any quarterback on the roster
- Any defensive player on the roster
The Titans turned down Kelly’s alleged offer and selected Mariota. The Eagles took wide receiver Nelson Agholor at No. 20. The Bucs, with the top pick, selected Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston.
It took eight years, but Mariota is headed to Philadelphia. The Eagles and Mariota reached an agreement on a one-year deal for $5 million that can increase to $8 million, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Mariota replaces Gardner Minshew, who reportedly has a deal with the Colts, to back up Jalen Hurts.
Mariota has been a solid NFL player but not a big star. He played five seasons for the Titans, then two seasons as a back-up to Derek Carr with the Raiders. He went to the Falcons last year and won the starting job. He lost the job late in the season to Desmond Ridder. The Falcons released Mariota on Feb. 28.
Eagles wide receiver A.J. Brown was Mariota’s teammate in Tennessee in 2019, his first touchdown pass coming from Mariota.
Mariota’s style of play resembles Hurts’ with the run-pass options and the straight-up running.
The Eagles hope Mariota, 29, has gas left in the tank. In 13 games with the Falcons, he completed 184-of-300 passes for 2,219 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also rushed for a career-high 438 yards.
In Week Six against the 49ers, Mariota led the Falcons to a 28-14 victory. He won the NFC Offensive Player of the Week award after going 13-of-14 passing for 129 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran six times for 50 yards.
The Eagles are looking for Mariota to win a game for them if necessary. Hurts missed one game because of injury in 2021 and he missed two games in 2022 because of his sprained shoulder.