By ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.
Recently, while filming a new commercial for Island Insurance, Hawaii’s Marcus Mariota took some time to meet with the local media. The former Saint Louis School standout and 2015 Heisman Trophy winner is currently an NFL free agent after spending the last two seasons backing up Derek Carr on the Las Vegas Raiders.
During the media scrum, Mariota said he is looking for ”the right fit” in selecting his new team, citing his desire to play for a franchise that will provide opportunity as well as a solid culture.
Deshaun Watson’s trade to the Cleveland Browns was the big domino piece that needed to fall before the rest of the QB-needy teams make their move. Here are the three most likely landing spots for Mariota:
- SEATTLE. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has always spoken highly of Mariota. With Russell Wilson now in Denver, Seattle has a big vacancy at the QB position, and it almost certainly wont be filled by Drew Lock. Mariota is clearly no Wilson, but he has a similar skill set and may be a suitable and affordable short-term solution that could keep the team in the playoff picture.
- INDIANAPOLIS. Yes, we know, Baker Mayfield has said he wants to be a Colt. But if you’re Colts general manager Chris Ballard, do you really want to bring in an inconsistent QB with maturity issues? In his time as a Raider, Mariota proved to be a team-first player and a solid locker room influence. What’s more, he’s still only 28 and has seemingly recovered from his rash of injuries.
- CAROLINA. The Panthers struck out in their attempts to acquire Watson. While I haven’t seen Mariota connected to Carolina in any fashion, it would be a good fit. Maybe the Panthers could draft a QB like Malik Willis or Kenny Pickett, then have the rookie learn the ropes from Mariota, who would serve as a capable bridge starter.