Philadelphia Eagles: Marcus Mariota Dream Not Dead Yet
Just when you thought it was dead, the idea of the Philadelphia Eagles and head coach Chip Kelly acquiring Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is alive and kicking again. Yesterday, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported that Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford refused to sign an extension with any team besides Philadelphia. Since Bradford appeared to be a key piece in Eagles-Mariota trade rumors, many thought the talks were now dead.
But then a report by Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com surfaced and revealed that the Cleveland Browns were still indeed interested in trading for the Eagles’ quarterback:
"ESPN’s Chris Mortensen re-iterated Monday night that the Eagles acquired Bradford to be their quarterback, not trade bait, and that he’d only sign an extension with Philadelphia if it contained a no-trade clause. I’m hearing the Browns would still like to acquire him, but it’s not likely to happen. Bradford is represented by Tom Condon, who represented two former Browns first-round quarterbacks: Tim Couch and Brady Quinn."
So if the Browns are still interested in trading for Bradford, that means the Eagles could still load up on even more ammo to trade with the Tennessee Titans to acquire the second overall pick in the draft to select Mariota. Speaking of the Titans, their general manager Ruston Webster and head coach Ken Whisenhunt sure are trying to sell the idea to the media that they are really interested in drafting Mariota. But why would they do that?
To jack up the price of the second overall pick, obviously. It seems like they aren’t getting any trade offers they really are blown away by so talking up the idea of actually selecting Mariota should improve the offers. Or teams may start to realize the Titans are full of it and actually have no interest in drafting the former Oregon Duck at all.
As far as the Eagles’ chances of trading up with the Titans for Mariota go, there has always been one team in their way. The San Diego Chargers have often been linked to the Titans as a possible team that could trade up for Mariota by using quarterback Phillip Rivers in a deal. That’s a trump card that the Eagles couldn’t really outbid in any scenario. But according to Webster, he hasn’t had any trade discussions with the Chargers:
If the Chargers are out of the conversation for the second overall pick, that means the Eagles could now be one of the final teams bidding for that spot. Their only competition left could be the Browns and they may be able to shut them up by sending Bradford their way and convincing him to sign there somehow. One of the more “plugged-in” Eagles’ reporters, Tim McManus of PhillyMag.com had this to say regarding a potential Eagles-Mariota deal:
When McManus talks, I tend to listen. If he says the dream isn’t dead, I’ll believe him, although it’s still a very unlikely situation. If the Eagles get into a bidding war with any other team, they have quite a ton of ammunition they can use. Whether it’s picks or players, I’m not sure Kelly will hold anything back in a potential deal for his dream quarterback.
Some of the Eagles’ best players have been rumored to be a part of trades this offseason. Defensive end Fletcher Cox, linebacker Mychal Kendricks, cornerback Brandon Boykin and guard Evan Mathis are all vital parts of Philadelphia’s team but could be used in a package with picks to land Kelly “his guy.”
While the thought of trading multiple players and picks for a single player scares many, including myself, Kelly clearly has no boundaries. He’s going to do what he wants to do, no matter what anyone has to say about it. Hopefully vice president of player personnel Ed Marynowitz can talk some sense into Kelly and keep him from going way overboard. There’s absolutely no way to know what Kelly will do on draft night, but it’s apparent that the dream of Mariota in midnight green may still be alive.
Next: Eagles Draft Wish List: The Birds Should Target Louisville's DeVante Parker
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