Falcons agree to terms on a two-year contract with QB Marcus Mariota. pic.twitter.com/qWVdlJSlxd— NFL (@NFL) March 21, 2022
The move reunites Mariota with Arthur Smith, who served as Mariota’s offensive coordinator throughout the first half of the 2019 campaign. The Falcons moved quickly to sign Mariota, securing his signature just hours after they traded away franchise quarterback Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts, which our own Jimmy Morris covered earlier.
Mariota spent the previous two seasons serving as Derek Carr’s backup as a member of the Las Vegas Raiders. This serves as the best case landing spot for Mariota, who was searching for a new destination in hopes of becoming a starter once again. As things stand, Mariota won’t face any competition for that right in Atlanta — He’s currently joined in their QB room by former undrafted free agent Feleipe Franks, who isn’t going to push for the starting job. It’s worth noting the Falcons own the 8th overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, and could decide to draft their future signal-caller in April.
Many will point to Mariota reuniting with Smith, but the two men didn’t experience any resemblance of success together in 2019, their lone season spent together. In five-and-a-half starts (he was benched midway through Week 6), Mariota completed just 94-of-159 passing attempts (59%) for 1,179 yards (196.5/game), seven touchdowns and two interceptions. The Titans went 2-4 in those games and scored seven or less points in three of four of those defeats. Mariota was then replaced by Ryan Tannehill, who eventually led the Titans offense (with the same supporting cast) to nearly 30 points per game and AFC Championship Game appearance. It’s a bit surprising that Smith wants to relive the Mariota experience after they didn’t appear to be compatible in 2019.
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