Early Friday morning, the Eagles reached an agreement with former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota on a one-year deal worth up to $8 million, a league source confirmed to The Inquirer. The news was first reported by ESPN.
Mariota, the 2014 Hesiman Trophy winner, brings stability to the Eagles as a backup quarterback after the team lost Gardner Minshew to the Colts at large. Mariota, 29, is expected to compete with Ian Book for the key backup spot behind 24-year-old starter and 2022 NFL MVP finalist Jalen Hurts.
Mariota, the No. 2 pick in the 2015 draft, has played for the Titans, Raiders and Falcons. Over eight seasons, Mariota played in 87 career games (74 starts), posting a 62.9 completion percentage with 92 touchdowns to 54 interceptions. Like Hurts, Mariota also poses a double threat with his 2,012 career rushing yards and 17 touchdowns. Last season, Mariota began the year as the Falcons’ starter before being replaced by rookie Desmond Ridder in December. The Falcons went 5-8 with Mariota under center.
While Mariota has struggled to stay the lead during his pro career, he provides the Eagles with a more usable backup for Hurts. When Hurts suffered an injury to his throwing shoulder last December, the Eagles lost consecutive games with Minshew as his reserve. The run-pass option has proven to be a dynamic factor for the Philadelphia offense, but that playbook element drastically disappeared with Hurts from the lineup. With Mariota as QB2, the Eagles don’t have to cut out many — if any — of those designed quarterback rushes.
Born in Honolulu, Mariota has a direct connection to star receiver AJ Brown. The duo previously played together during Brown’s 2019 rookie season with the Titans. Mariota also played with wide receiver Devon Allen and special teams coordinator Michael Clay during their college years together in Oregon.
» READ MORE: 3 big Eagles questions at the start of the new league year: What does a contract extension for Jalen Hurts look like?