Things change in a hurry on the Quarterback Carousel.
One week it looks like a signal-caller might be traded quickly. The next, not so much.
Las Vegas Raiders backup quarterback Marcus Mariota appeared headed toward being the latest to get traded this offseason. The Raiders needing to shed money due to a shrinking salary cap and his play in one appearance last year led to the belief that the former first-round quarterback could be traded for as a bridge starter.
Apparently, teams are now wary of giving up a draft pick for the potential starter's contract.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on NFL NOW that the trade market has "dried up significantly" for Mariota due to the incentives in the QB's contract.
"A couple of days ago, it really seemed like Marcus Mariota was going to be on the move," Rapoport said. "I know teams were interested, were calling the Las Vegas Raiders about potentially acquiring Marcus Mariota. Things did get down the line a little bit. There is significant interest in teams trying to get Marcus Mariota ... but there is an issue. Take a look at his contract. He's due a little more than $10 million this year. If he's going to be a bridge starter, which would be the role he'd come in and play, that's not bad. That's actually not the issue.
"The issue is based on incentives. If he is the starter and ends up playing the entire season, he can make an additional $12 million, so more than $20 million for Marcus Mariota. Teams, as of right now, don't seem to think that's something that would be worth it, especially when you consider they'd also give up a draft pick to trade for him. That trade market has now dried up significantly."
If no team is willing to take on that contract, the Raiders, who are currently projected to be well over the salary cap, could be forced to release Mariota. Cutting the QB would save $11.35 million on the cap with zero dead money. With Derek Carr entrenched as the starter, Las Vegas might not have the luxury of hanging onto a backup as high-priced as Mariota, given its needs elsewhere on the roster, especially on defense.
Rapoport noted that getting released could behoove Mariota, who would then be able to choose his destination and negotiate a new deal, potentially with additional guarantees.
This is all part of the offseason dance.
One day Mariota is all but traded. A few Earth rotations later, he's a potential cut candidate.
Tune back in next time as the QB Carousel continues to spin expeditiously.