It’s late June, and second-overall pick Marcus Mariota remains unsigned for the Tennessee Titans. He’s said all the right things, and the team is all-in on marketing their young quarterback, but he’s one of just three players from the 2015 Draft class that don’t currently have a contract.
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There is speculation that Mariota could be pushing for a trade to join his former college coach Chip Kelly in Philadelphia, and there are reports that suggest the 21-year-old could miss the early part of training camp working out the details of his rookie deal. The bottom line is, one way or another Zach Mettenberger will be without legitimate competition for at least a portion of camp and the offense won’t get to work with a player of Mariota’s style.
Tennessee has Charlie Whitehurst and Alex Tanney on the roster, so having bodies in camp isn’t an issue. But having someone who can simulate Mariota in his absence would go a long way for a new-look Titans offense that will already be a step behind having to develop chemistry as a unit. The free agent market isn’t rich in players that fit that description, but it does have one that fits the mold.
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At 34 years old, Michael Vick is looking for one last shot on an NFL roster. He’s a shadow of the player that won the 2010 Comeback Player of the Year award, but did show he still has a little left in the tank both in his arm and his legs with the Jets last year. Will Vick come in and win the starting job? Doubtful, unless Mariota is traded and Mettenberger struggles heavy in camp. But he would provide Mettenberger some competition in Mariota’s abence, perhaps make a case to make the team as a second- or third-string quarterback, and at least have a shot to impress another NFL club with a strong camp performance.
The ideal situation for the Titans is that Mariota is under contract by the time the team opens camp in mid-July, comes in and continues to impress, and gets the necessary reps to solidify his status as the team’s starter come Week 1. But should that not happen, they can’t let the offense suffer as a result. Bringing in Vick would at least allow them to run the offense as they would with Mariota so that even if he isn’t ready for Opening Week, the rest of the team is. And if even Mariota does sign on time, having depth is never a bad thing.
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