6:58 PM ET
Paul GutierrezESPN Staff Writer
- Covered Oakland Raiders for CSNBayArea.com and Sacramento Bee for eight years
- Member of Pro Football Writers Association
- Previously worked at Los Angeles Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal and Sports Illustrated
HENDERSON, Nev. — Marcus Mariota has agreed to a contract restructure to return to the Las Vegas Raiders as Derek Carr’s backup at quarterback, ESPN has confirmed.
Mariota, who signed a two-year, $17.6 million free-agent contract with the Raiders last March, was scheduled to make $10.625 million in base salary in 2021 while carrying a salary cap number of $15.35 million.
NFL Network was first to report the restructured deal, a one-year contract worth $3.5 million that could top out at $8 million if incentives are met.
The 2014 Heisman Trophy winner and the No. 2 overall pick of the 2015 draft, Mariota dealt with myriad ankle and shoulder injuries in training camp and started the season on injured reserve.
He appeared in one game for the Raiders last season, replacing an injured Carr in a Week 15 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Chargers while throwing for 226 yards and a touchdown, with an interception, in completing 17 of 28 passes. He also rushed for 88 yards and a TD (with eight first downs) on nine carries.
Mariota, 27, has been the subject of much trade and/or cut speculation this offseason, but the QB market seems to have dried up as of late.
“I’m just excited to be a Raider,” Mariota, a Hawaii native, told KHON-TV on Tuesday. “Everyone talks about Las Vegas being the ninth [Hawaiian] island and for me, this is the closest I can get to playing for my hometown. That in itself was just such a special opportunity and I’m just excited to come back and get ready to go.”
Mariota was also asked about taking a paycut.
“I think at the end of the day, I just focus on controlling what I can control, and that’s the product on the field,” he said. “So, every single day I wake up, I train, I get ready to go and at the end of the day we’re very blessed to play this game for a living. A lot of us make a really good amount of money and for me, I just love playing the game. And the excitement, the opportunity to be a Raider, kind of overcame all of that.
“To be here in Vegas, to be a part of this organization meant a lot more to me and I’m excited to be able to come back.”