ESPN writer Bill Barnwell has drawn up a scenario in which Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota will sign with the Carolina Panthers in free agency.
There will be a lot of speculation about where soon-to-be former Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota will sign in free agency this offseason, and one ESPN analyst believes he could land with the Carolina Panthers if certain things fall into place.
Mariota lost his starting job in Week 6 of the 2019 season and was replaced by fellow signal-caller Ryan Tannehill, who went on to lead the Titans to a 7-3 record in the last 10 games of the regular season en route to the playoffs.
As a result, Tannehill looks to be at least the 2020 solution for the Titans and Mariota will almost certainly be leaving the team that drafted him with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft for a chance to start elsewhere in the NFL.
In one scenario, he says that if the Chicago Bears sign Brady, that will lead to the New England Patriots trading for Cam Newton and Mariota eventually signing a two-year deal worth $18 million with the Panthers.
"With Carolina coach Matt Rhule looking for a quarterback who protects the football and offers some mobility if the Panthers want to use RPOs, he goes after a former Heisman Trophy winner in Mariota. This deal locks in Mariota as either a low-end starter or a high-end backup to compete with 2019 third-round pick Will Grier."
Should the Panthers decide to move on from Newton in order to save big money in 2020, the franchise will have a huge question mark at the quarterback position if it chooses not to take one with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Last year’s starter, Kyle Allen, is an exclusive rights free agent, which means the only quarterback currently under contract in Carolina is Will Grier, a former third-round pick of the Panthers in 2019.
It’s conceivable that Mariota could beat out Grier, who is no lock for a starting job, and the same can be said for Allen after he struggled down the stretch of the 2019 campaign.
Even if he doesn’t become the starter right away, Marcus Mariota would still be in a great position to eventually take over next season if his only competition is Grier and/or Allen.