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At last, the Birds’ former future franchise quarterback made it to Philadelphia.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Tennessee Titans Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

With Gardner Minshew signing with the Indianapolis Colts, the Philadelphia Eagles found themselves in need of a new backup quarterback behind Jalen Hurts.

The top option remaining on the market was Marcus Mariota.

And now he’s joining the Birds on a one-year contract worth $5 million ($1.5 million more than Minshew received) with a max value of $8 million.

One word:


Once upon a time, Mariota was The Prince Who Was Promised in Philly. He was supposed to be reunited with Chip Kelly. And the Eagles’ former head coach reportedly tried to make that happen by trading up from their first-round pick at No. 20 overall in the 2015 NFL Draft to select Mariota at No. 2.

Of course, that didn’t happen.

The Tennessee Titans decided to draft him and make him the face of their franchise.

It didn’t really work out.

Mariota went 29-32 in the regular season and 1-1 in the playoffs as a starter before ultimately getting benched during his fifth NFL season. Ryan Tannehill took over and he’s been able to hold on to the job since 2019.

Mariota left the Titans in free agency to sign with the Las Vegas Raiders. He only logged 30 pass attempts over two seasons with them as Derek Carr’s backup.

Thanks to the Arthur Smith connection, Mariota then signed with the Atlanta Falcons last offseason. He went 5-8 as a bridge starter before being placed on injured reserve to give way to Desmond Ridder. Mariota was accused of quitting on the team after his demotion. But the Eagles might have more insight on that situation than other teams do.

Multiple members of Nick Sirianni’s coaching staff have notable ties to Mariota. Eagles tight ends coach Jason Michael was his offensive coordinator in Tennessee for two seasons before being moved down to his quarterbacks coach for two more seasons. Eagles quarterbacks coach Alex Tanney, who was recently promoted after Brian Johnson was elevated to OC, was Mariota’s teammate on the Titans in 2015. Eagles special teams coordinator Michael Clay was Mariota’s teammate at Oregon in 2012.

Oh, and Mariota was obviously A.J. Brown’s teammate in 2019. The Eagles’ star wide receiver scored his first NFL touchdown via a Mariota throw that year.

With Hurts firmly entrenched as the franchise quarterback in Philly, the Eagles are bringing Mariota in to be a high quality backup. His $5 million contract ranks tied (with Andy Dalton) among NFL quarterbacks in average annual value.

Entering his age 30 season, there’s reason to believe Mariota can be effective. Should he have to play, he figures to be surrounded by a good support system. The Eagles’ offensive line is one of the best in the league and there’s a strong running game for him to lean on. Mariota can obviously make things happen on the ground himself; he set a career high in rushing yards last season with 438 (5.2 average).

Mariota’s signature performance last season was when he completed 13 of 14 attempts for 129 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions, and a 144.6 passer rating against the San Francisco 49ers (who especially banged up, to be fair). He also ran six times for 50 yards and another score. This effort earned him an NFC Offensive Player of the Week award.

So, yeah, this seems like a guy who is capable of keeping the season afloat should Hurts have to miss a game or two due a short-term injury. Like he has in each of the past two seasons.

Welcome home, Marcus Mariota.


Grade the Eagles signing Marcus Mariota

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