Could former Tennessee Titans starting quarterback Marcus Mariota be headed to Los Angeles?
With just a few days remaining before Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline, there are sure to be plenty of trade rumors and actual trades between now and then, and some of those rumors could include the Tennessee Titans and Marcus Mariota.
CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin believes that the Titans should trade Mariota to the Los Angeles Chargers. He stated as much in his “One trade each NFL team should make” article he posted Friday morning.
"If the Titans are done with Mariota (and pulling him for Ryan Tannehill would indicate that, yes, they very much are), there’s no reason they shouldn’t attempt to get something for him before he inevitably hits the open market and signs a backup contract elsewhere. L.A. has Philip Rivers, but Rivers will be 38 in 2020, and worst-case scenario, Mariota could just replace No. 2 Tyrod Taylor. Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, keep in mind, was the Titans’ coach when Tennessee drafted Mariota."
Benjamin stated that the Titans would be trading Mariota for a conditional fourth-round pick in next spring’s NFL Draft.
Mariota’s rookie contract expires after this season, and with how well new starter Ryan Tannehill has performed, it wouldn’t be too surprising if the Titans traded him away. Given the injuries issues that Tannehill has had, however, I’m not too sure how wise trading Mariota would be.
After playing the entirety of his first four seasons with the Miami Dolphins, Tannehill missed parts of each of the three previous seasons, including 2017 when he tore his ACL during training camp, missing that entire season.
To be fair, Mariota himself has not gone a single one of his previous four seasons without missing time due to injury. That being said, he knows the offense better than any replacement would, so getting rid of him now might not be the best idea.
On the flip side, trading away Mariota for a conditional fourth-round pick would at least give them a chance of getting something in return. Though I’m not sure of what the conditions would be, it would probably be better than not getting anything in return for him, assuming he does not play another down this season.
Assuming that the Titans are still in the market for a quarterback in next year’s draft, some people would argue that getting that additional draft capital would make trading up for the quarterback that the team wants much easier, as they’d be able to maneuver into an earlier pick, making the chances of them having their pick of the litter much easier.
With Philip Rivers turning 38 in December and in the final year of his contract, the Chargers are going to have to look for their quarterback of the future very soon. Mariota turns 26 on Wednesday, meaning he still has time to turn his career around. He could do so with the Chargers.
Mariota joining the Chargers would also reunite him with former Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt, currently the offensive coordinator for the Chargers.
Whisenhunt was the head coach of the Titans when Mariota was drafted back in 2015, but was fired in the middle of that season after compiling a 3-20 record in 23 games.
At any rate, I highly doubt that the Titans trade away Marcus Mariota. They will more than likely allow him to finish up his rookie contract and then allow him to hit free agency. That being said, it would not be too surprising if the team decided to part ways with him ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline.