Marcus Mariota has signed an incentive-laden contract with the Raiders that pays him like the backup he is — unless he can win the starting job, and play well.
The Raiders gave Mariota a two-year, $17.6 million deal that includes a $7.5 million fully guaranteed base salary in 2020, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network.
Where it gets interesting is in the potential for incentives: Mariota can make $2.4 million if he plays 60 percent of the Raiders’ offensive snaps in 2020, plus another $1.5 million in per-game playing time and win incentives and $2 million in postseason incentives.
In 2021, Mariota has $10 million in incentives available and a $12 million salary escalator.
What this all means is that Mariota can cash in if he does to Derek Carr what Ryan Tannehill did to Mariota last year: Unseat him for the starting job, and then play well enough to lead the team to the playoffs.
Mariota’s contract is nowhere near what most would have expected for him a year ago, when he was heading into the final season of his rookie contract. If Mariota had played well last year he would have cashed in this year, but instead it was Tannehill who got a big contract. Now Mariota has signed a backup’s contract that has the potential to get a lot better, if he plays and plays well.