What happened to Marcus Mariota? How NFL Draft ‘bust’ found a fit in Raiders’ offense

From No. 2 overall to No. 2 on the depth chart, Marcus Mariota has carved out an interesting career.

Once a highly touted prospect out of Oregon, the former Tennessee Titan has settled into a backup role with the Raiders, and he’s settled in nicely. After a few up and down years with the Titans, Mariota joined the Raiders in 2020.

While the “draft bust” tag will follow Mariota for the rest of his career, his tenure with the Raiders resulted in surprising use within the offense in 2021 after spending the entirety of the 2020 season on the bench backing up Derek. Carr. Mariota could find himself as a high-quality backup, or in a Taysom Hill-type role after the 2021 season if

Here’s how Mariota’s career went from draft bust to double threat:

What happened to Marcus Mariota?

Mariota was something of a victim of circumstance in Tennessee: He had two head coaches in his first three seasons and four offensive coordinators in his first five seasons. That’s a difficult situation for any rookie quarterback to handle.

Regardless, he was pretty inconsistent and struggled with rotation issues, something that didn’t really show in college.

Mariota’s entourage aside, he’s been something of an injury magnet since he entered the league, suffering an injury every year. except 2019, ironically, the year he was benched by Ryan Tannehill.

  • In 2021, he suffered a quad injury in the Raiders’ season opener. He would be placed on IR. The injury was an aggravation of a previous quad injury in the preseason.
  • In 2020, Mariota suffered a pectoral injury that sidelined him for five games.
  • In 2018, he dealt with an elbow injury and neck stinger that forced him to sit out two games.
  • In 2017, he dealt with a hamstring injury that sidelined him for one game.
  • In 2016, Mariota broke his fibula in Week 16 against the Jaguars.
  • In 2015, he dealt with an MCL sprain in his right knee on two separate occasions, with the second sprain ending his season early.

Mariota finished his career with the Titans on the fifth-year option. He played in 63 games over five seasons, throwing for 76 touchdowns to 45 interceptions over five seasons at Tennesseee. Tannehill’s career revival in Tennessee played a significant role in Mariota’s release.

He wouldn’t be unemployed for long, though: Mariota signed a two-year, $17.6 million deal with the Raiders before the 2020 season, seemingly signaling a challenge for starting starter Derek Carr.

With the Raiders, Mariota found a niche: In 2020, he was purely the Raiders’ backup quarterback, taking his only snaps of the season in Week 15 in relief of an injured Derek Carr.

In 2021, Mariota’s role evolved, becoming something of a gadget player for the Las Vegas offense. Mariota scored three snaps in the first 11 weeks of the season (most of which he missed due to injury), but his role expanded entering Week 12.

The Raiders have used Mariota primarily as an optional quarterback — he only gets 24 snaps on the season, with only three of those snaps coming as passes. Most of his snaps were at running back (13) and the remaining eight snaps were handoffs.

Marcus Mariota contract

Prior to 2020, Mariota signed a two-year contract worth up to $17.6 million with the Raiders. The contract included $7.5 million in guarantees.

Mariota and the Raiders restructured his contract heading into 2021: Mariota signed a one-year deal with $3.5 million guaranteed. You can earn more with incentives, up to $8 million, according to Spotrac.