Raiders more likely to release Marcus Mariota than trade him

Do not expect to see Marcus Mariota in a Las Vegas Raiders jersey next year.

As NFL free agency is right around the corner, teams will be prepping to make big-time investments on the market. Most will know their value. Some will be wanting top dollar this offseason.

What should we make of the Las Vegas Raiders? Well, that is where things become complicated.

The Raiders are trying to free up cap space left and right entering the offseason. A name that has generated plenty of buzz is Marcus Mariota, who currently serves as the team’s backup quarterback.

There are up to nine teams that could be looking to upgrade under center. Mariota, who formerly started 4.5 years with the Tennessee Titans, was considered a hot name on the trade block earlier this offseason. Now, those talks have digressed.

Las Vegas wants to get something in return for a proven veteran. The problem is, no one is biting with an offer to take on his contract. Ultimately, this could lead to Mariota’s eventual release.

Will Marcus Mariota end up on the free agent market?

There isn’t much to go off of Mariota for the 2020 season. Derek Carr was the incumbent starter and shined when on the field. When Mariota did play, he was impressive.

In a Week 15 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, the former Titans starter delivered several strikes downfield, going 17-of-28 passing and rushing for 88 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown.

Las Vegas has itself in a predicament for multiple reasons. Mariota will make $10.7 million next season. Should the 27-year-old start for Las Vegas, or any team, his incentives would allow him to earn over $20 million next season.

The Raiders would prefer to trade Mariota, where they would receive a draft pick in return. The only problem is it would require Mariota to re-work his contract to facilitate a trade to a different team.

No surprise, Mariota isn’t budging.

Should the Raiders release him, that would save more than $11 million in cap space. Mariota then could decide where he would like to play next season on a lesser deal. As it stands, barring a setback with the Dallas Cowboys and Dak Prescott, Jameis Winston might be the only starting-caliber quarterback on the market.

It’s not what the Raiders want, but it’s what they’ll need to do moving forward if they don’t want to pay Mariota.