Eagles signing a backup QB they once tried trading Fletcher Cox (and more) for 8 years ago

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

It didn't take long for the Eagles to find a backup quarterback after Gardner Minshew left Thursday to sign a free agent contract with the Indianapolis Colts.

Less than 12 hours later, the Eagles reportedly reached agreement with Marcus Mariota, the No. 2 pick in the 2015 draft. ESPN first reported the signing early Friday morning. Mariota reportedly signed a one-year deal worth $5 million and potentially worth up to $8 million to serve as Jalen Hurts' backup.

The Eagles are also adding a cornerback, reportedly agreeing to terms with ex-Cleveland Brown Greedy Williams, a 2019 second-round pick out of LSU.

Williams played in 11 games last season, starting one. He was a full-time starter as a rookie until injuring his hamstring after 12 games. But Williams missed the entire 2020 season with a shoulder injury. He has served as a backup ever since, although he did start eight games in 2021.

For his career, Williams has two interceptions, both coming last season. Williams, who's 6-foot-2, is expected to provide depth on the outside behind Darius Slay and James Bradberry. Both recently re-signed with the Eagles.

Mariota, meanwhile, seemed preordained to become an Eagle in 2015. Back then, former coach and general manager Chip Kelly, who that season won a power struggle with Roseman, made no secret of his desire to draft Mariota.

Mariota had played for Kelly at the University of Oregon, and he was considered one of the top two quarterbacks in the draft along with Jameis Winston, who went first to Tampa Bay.

HURTS LOGIC:The amazing way Jalen Hurts' pending contract is helping Eagles keep most top players

KEEPING TRACK:Eagles free agent tracker: Minshew mania departing; who will back up Jalen Hurts?

So the Eagles, picking at No. 20, tried desperately to trade with the Tennessee Titans, picking at No. 2, in order to draft Mariota.

They couldn't pull it off the deal. There were reports that Kelly offered the Titans the Eagles' 2015 first- and second-round picks, their 2016 first-round pick, any quarterback on their roster and any defensive player on their roster.

It was believed that defensive player was Fletcher Cox, who was entering his fourth season. That season, Cox was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first of six straight seasons. The quarterback could have either been Sam Bradford, whom the Eagles traded for just six weeks before the draft, or Mark Sanchez.

Atlanta Falcons quarterbacks Marcus Mariota (1) and Desmond Ridder (4) prepare before a preseason game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit on Friday, Aug. 12, 2022.
Atlanta Falcons quarterbacks Marcus Mariota (1) and Desmond Ridder (4) prepare before a preseason game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit on Friday, Aug. 12, 2022.

The Eagles ended up drafting wide receiver Nelson Agholor in the first round and defensive back Eric Rowe in the second round. Both are still in the NFL, but on different teams.

As it turned out, Kelly was fired after the season and Roseman was reinstated as general manager. The following season, the Eagles did put together a big package and traded up to No. 2 to select Carson Wentz as the quarterback.

As for Mariota, he started for the Titans beginning Week 1 as a rookie, but he never became the franchise quarterback. He spent his first five seasons in Tennessee, but an elbow injury early in the 2019 season caused him to miss several games. When Mariota returned, he had lost his job to Ryan Tannehill, who rallied the Titans to a 7-3 finish and a playoff berth.

The following season, Mariota signed with the Las Vegas Raiders, serving as a backup to Derek Carr. He started 10 games in place of the injured Carr in 2021. He then went to the Atlanta Falcons last season as a starter after Atlanta had selected Desmond Ridder in the third round of the draft.

But Mariota was benched late in the season after starting 13 games. He completed 61.3% of his passes with 15 TDs and nine interceptions with a QB rating of 88.2. A week later, Mariota was placed on injured reserve with a chronic knee injury. Falcons coach Arthur Smith said at the time that the injury had nothing to do with the benching.

For his career, Mariota has started 74 games, going 34-40. He has thrown for 15,656 yards, completing 62.6% of his passes with 92 TDs and 54 INTs.

Contact Martin Frank at mfrank@delawareonline.com. Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.

This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: Eagles signing QB Marcus Mariota 8 years after nearly trading for him