ARIZONA CARDINALS

ESPN’s best free-agent fits include Marcus Mariota to Arizona Cardinals

Dec 5, 2019, 2:54 PM | Updated: 9:32 pm
Marcus Mariota #8 of the Tennessee Titans warms up before a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars a...
Marcus Mariota #8 of the Tennessee Titans warms up before a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Nissan Stadium on November 24, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Oh how quickly things can change in the NFL.

Tennesee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, seen as one of the most promising young quarterbacks of the decade.

Four years later and Mariota lost his starting job to Ryan Tannehill.

At a fork in the road type of point in his career, Mariota might be looking at a backup job next season if he isn’t trying to win a job elsewhere, a decision he will have to make in free agency next offseason.

ESPN’s Field Yates thinks the best course of action for Mariota would be to embrace the backup role by going somewhere he wouldn’t be able to win the job: the Arizona Cardinals.

I view Mariota as backup quarterback at this juncture of his career. And Arizona would benefit from Mariota’s experience and ability to help Kyler Murray in his continued growth. While Murray has not been fully unleashed as a runner yet, Mariota has the requisite athletic ability to run some similar concepts if pressed into duty.

Over the course of his career, Mariota has completed 62.9% of his passes for 13,183 passing yards, 76 touchdowns and 44 interceptions. He was a Pro Bowl alternate in 2016.

In Week 6 during a loss to the Denver Broncos, Mariota was benched for Tannehill in the third quarter after throwing for just 63 yards with two interceptions.

The Cardinals have Brett Hundley currently backing up Murray, who is on a one-year deal worth just under $2 million.

Yates also suggests Arizona for Dallas Cowboys cornerback Chris Jones.

Arizona general manager Steve Keim has shown a willingness to be aggressive in free agency when targeting preferred players. Jones would supplement a cornerback group led by Patrick Peterson. This is a position that the team should continue to add to through both youth (draft) and experience (free agency). And Jones would help right away.

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