There’s been a lot of discussion lately about whether or not the Tennessee Titans will sign quarterback Marcus Mariota to a longterm extension after the 2018 season.
The Titans have already exercised Mariota’s fifth year option for 2019, but the expectation is that the franchise will decide if the former Oregon standout is “the guy” before next season.
According to former Titans director of college scouting Blake Beddingfield, the decision has already been made — Mariota is the guy.
.@BlakeBeddingfi1 on @Midday180 regarding Marcus Mariota: The decision has been made. he is the guy. (Don’t see alternate option.) What you saw last night shows you he can be a consistent NFL QB, put more of those together against good teams. #Titans
— Paul Kuharsky (@PaulKuharskyNFL) November 6, 2018
I’ve been skeptical, at times, when it comes to Mariota’s future as a NFL quarterback. Sometimes, Mariota looks brilliant (the second half of the Eagles game this season). Other times, he leaves a lot to be desired (the Bills and Ravens games).
But after watching other franchises (the Bills, Jets, Jaguars, Browns etc) struggle for years to find an adequate starting quarterback, I think locking up Mariota is the right thing to do.
Do I think the Titans could find a better quarterback than Mariota through the draft?
Absolutely. I don’t foresee Mariota being a Pro-Bowl quarterback (at least on an annual basis). But he doesn’t have to play to that level for the Titans to find success (just ask the Ravens and Joe Flacco, or the Eagles and Nick Foles).
But the odds of the Titans being in a position to draft a quarterback better than Mariota, and then that quarterback not being a bust, are incredibly low. We see a plethora of quarterbacks selected every year and most of the time those quarterbacks fail to live up to the their draft slot.
The Titans have a quarterback in Mariota that can win games. If they were to give up on him now (which I think is way too soon, just look at how he compares at age 25 to other quarterbacks when they were 25), they would risk setting the franchise back three or four years.
General manager Jon Robinson needs to continue to build around Mariota, which means finding a longterm solution at tight end (Delanie Walker doesn’t have a lot of time left, and we have no clue how he’ll play after his return from injury) and another weapon at wide receiver.
Mariota is starting to settle into Matt LaFleur’s offense. I know I said a few weeks ago that Tennessee should wait to make a decision on Mariota, but these things can be fluid. At this point, I think the Titans would be smart to roll the dice and get the extension done sooner than later.
The price likely won’t go down from here, it’ll only go up.
Featured image via Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports