Mariota once had all the hopes and dreams of a franchise put on his shoulders as the second-overall pick by the Titans in the 2015 NFL Draft. He was thrown right into the fire right away and showed a ton of promise, but he wasn’t able to build on that and turn into a true franchise player.
During his tenure in Tennessee, he helped head the team to one playoff berth in four years as a starter before getting pulled in favor of Ryan Tannehill in his fifth season on the roster. His availability has never been great, either. In seven years in the NFL, and four as a starter, he’s never made it through an entire season without missing time to injury.
There’s not a ton to go off when looking at Mariota’s last few seasons. In 2020 and 2021 combined, the quarterback threw just 30 passes, completing 18 of them for 230 yards. Last year he threw the ball just twice, completing one of those passes for four yards. He added 87 more yards and a score on the ground in 2021, though.
In reality, Atlanta is getting a player who will compete for a starting role. But given how little he’s played in recent years, it’s a risk if they hand him the starting job right away.
What it means for Falcons
This move came just hours after the team dealt franchise quarterback Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts, so it’s clear that they’re wasting no time diving into a total rebuild. Given his relationship to head coach Arthur Smith from their days in Tennessee, Mariota could be a perfect placeholder QB until they find their franchise guy of the future.