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Marcus Mariota reportedly staying in NFC East on 1-year deal

Former Eagles backup quarterback Marcus Mariota is staying in the NFC East on a one-year deal.

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Marcus Mariota is leaving the Eagles but he’s staying in the division.

The Eagles’ backup quarterback in 2023 is signing a one-year deal with the Washington Commanders, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.

That’s a pay bump for Mariota, who was with the Eagles in 2023 on a one-year, $5 million contract. The former No. 2 overall pick will enter his 10th NFL season in 2024.

Mariota, 30, was an expensive insurance policy for the Eagles last season and one they didn’t have to use. Starting quarterback Jalen Hurts started all 17 regular season games and the playoff game so Mariota barely saw the field.

He did see action in three games but played just a total of 44 snaps. Mariota completed 15 of 23 passes for 164 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception in 2023. There was so much speculation about the Eagles’ trading up to draft Mariota in 2015 but he finally joined the team as a clear backup eight seasons later.

It’ll be interesting to see what the Eagles do at the backup quarterback spot. They drafted Tanner McKee in the sixth round out of Stanford last season. While McKee didn’t play at all as a rookie — he was the emergency QB for every game — he did impress during training camp. Is there a chance the Eagles will roll with him as their No. 2 in 2024?

As a sixth-round pick in his second NFL season, McKee has a base salary of $915,000 in 2024 and a cap hit of just $961,630. Having the possibility of a sixth-rounder as the backup for three seasons is extremely appealing if McKee is ready for that role and the Eagles can avoid the expense of a high-profile backup like Mariota or Gardner Minshew from 2022.

But if the Eagles do want to sign a veteran to compete with McKee for that backup job, a guy like Easton Stick might make sense. Stick, 28, was a fifth-round pick in 2019 and has played minimally in his NFL career. But he did get a chance to start four games under Eagles new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore with the Chargers last season. So he has familiarity with the OC in Philly and might be able to push McKee.

Mariota, meanwhile, will join a Commanders team that has the No. 2 overall pick in the upcoming draft. It is expected that the Commanders will draft a quarterback in that spot. But Mariota will presumably battle with incumbent Sam Howell for a role in 2024. There’s a chance Mariota could be a stop-gap option if the rookie isn’t ready to start in Week 1.

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