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Philadelphia Eagles land perfect Jalen Hurts backup in Marcus Mariota

The Philadelphia Eagles hope Jalen Hurts will suit up in all 17 games and for every potential playoff outing next season.

This is the hope of all 32 teams around the NFL. But as we saw last season, it rarely ever comes to fruition. In fact, Hurts missed two games late in the regular year with a shoulder injury.

Gardner Minshew ultimately stepped in for the NFC Champions before Hurts was able to return for the playoffs.

Now that Minshew has landed with the Indianapolis Colts in free agency, Philadelphia had to find a replacement at QB2. It did just that by signing former No. 2 overall pick Marcus Mariota to a one-year, $5 million contract. The one-year deal can be worth up to $8 million with incentives.

Mariota, 29, spent last season as the Atlanta Falcons starting quarterback before leaving the team late in the campaign. The Oregon product completed 61% of his passes for 2,219 yards with 19 total touchdowns and nine interceptions. It represented his eighth season in the NFL.

Related: Sportsnaut’s NFL free agent tracker with grades

Philadelphia Eagles might have struck gold with Marcus Mariota

philadelphia eagles sign marcus mariota
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

To be clear, Mariota has not been a starter-caliber quarterback since his sophomore season back in 2016. That season saw him tally 28 total touchdowns against nine interceptions.

Within a few years, Mariota’s original Tennessee Titans team came to the realization that he was not their quarterback of the future. He spent 2020 and 2021 with the Las Vegas Raiders before heading to Tennessee. Despite recent struggles, Mariota’s starting experience will come in handy behind Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia.

Given the way Hurts plays as a dual-threat quarterback (304 rush attempts the past two seasons), it made perfect sense for the Eagles to find an experienced backup. As a legit championship contender, they needed exactly that.

From a scheme perspective, Philadelphia wouldn’t have to change up its offense should Mariota have to fill in on a whim. He obviously doesn’t present the same overall threat as Hurts, but the veteran’s ability on the ground could lead to some sustained short-term success.

An offseason that has been spent with Eagles general manager Howie Roseman scrambling to keep as much of the core together as possible now includes the addition of an experienced backup quarterback with some sort of success in the past. That’s no small thing in today’s NFL.

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