Marcus Mariota Linked To Broncos As Potential Free Agency Target

Marcus Mariota, Broncos
NFL Analysis Network

The Denver Broncos have a quarterback conundrum on their hands. They looked to swing a big trade last offseason, but nothing materialized. As a result, they acquired Teddy Bridgewater from the Carolina Panthers.

Bridgewater was solid for the Broncos, but not spectacular. You know what you are getting from a veteran like him. He will keep you competitive, but he isn’t going to win you many games with his arm. He is a solid game manager, which some teams need.

This offseason, Denver will once again go big game hunting at the quarterback position. Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson are three names they could pursue via trade. Jimmy Garoppolo is another player that could intrigue them.

If they do not land one of those difference-makers in a trade, the Broncos could opt to select a quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft. Matt Corral out of Ole Miss and Kenny Pickett from Pitt could be two options when they come on the clock in the first round.

Another avenue could be free agency. If the Broncos go that route, one name to keep an eye on according to PFF is Marcus Mariota. Mariota has spent the last two seasons with the Las Vegas Raiders but is hitting free agency and could be in search of a bigger role on a team.

Mariota has been deployed mostly in specific packages with the Raiders but has found success in that role. He has 175 rushing yards on just 18 attempts with the Raiders, as his legs are a legitimate weapon that could be worked into a game plan offensively.

That is the same role that PFF envisions him filling with the Broncos. They don’t necessarily believe he will be the Broncos’ starting quarterback in 2022 but could be someone that brings an added dimension and skill set to the quarterback room.

If that is the approach that Denver brings to filling out their quarterback depth chart, it likely means that they didn’t land a veteran in trade. Outside of Garoppolo, the other three players mentioned, Rodgers, Watson and Wilson, will be playing 100 percent of the snaps unless an injury or blowout ensues.

Mariota is a good backup plan in case they are unable to land one of the big names. He could come in and compete with someone for the starting job, as Bridgewater did with Drew Lock. Marcus Mariota could also be a veteran mentor and great backup for a younger quarterback should Las Vegas use their first-round pick on one this year.

Denver would also be poaching a player from a division rival. Any time you can weaken someone you are in direct competition with while strengthening your own position, it is something organizations will take advantage of.