NFL Rumors: Washington Football Team Should Trade For Marcus Mariota & Cut Alex Smith, ‘Bleacher Report’ Suggests

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Marcus Mariota prepares to pass the ball.
Gettyimages | Chris Unger
Football

Although they were able to qualify for the Wild Card round, where they lost to the eventual Super Bowl LV champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Washington Football Team finished the 2020 NFL season without a clear-cut starting quarterback. With many clubs expected to make changes behind center in the lead-up to the 2021 campaign, Bleacher Report recommended that Washington should make a move for Las Vegas Raiders backup Marcus Mariota while letting go of last season's Comeback Player of the Year, Alex Smith.

Washington Started Four Quarterbacks In 2020 Season

Quarterback Taylor Heinicke of the Washington Football Team runs with the ball.
Gettyimages | Mitchell Layton

As explained by the publication on Thursday, Washington started four quarterbacks in 2020, including Dwayne Haskins, Kyle Allen, Smith, and Taylor Heinicke. 

With Haskins getting cut late in the season and signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers soon after, Allen an exclusive-rights free agent after suffering a season-ending broken ankle, and Smith still undecided regarding his future in Washington, only the 27-year-old Heinicke will definitely be returning in 2021 after re-signing with the team for the next two years, according to NBC Sports.

Washington Is 'Extremely Interested' In Mariota

Marcus Mariota of the Las Vegas Raiders holds the ball on the sidelines.
Gettyimages | Christian Petersen

According to Bleacher Report, Washington has a “playoff-caliber” roster but still needs to acquire an experienced quarterback who could provide some stability on offense. He cited Michael Lombardi of subscriber-only site The Athletic, who recently revealed that the club is “extremely interested” in Mariota, who backed up Derek Carr last season -- his first with the Raiders after spending five years with the Tennessee Titans.

Mariota made a good impression in limited action, passing for 226 yards, one touchdown, and one interception against the Los Angeles Chargers. He added 88 rushing yards and one touchdown on the ground during that same game.

Mariota Could Come Cheap For Washington

Marcus Mariota of the Las Vegas Raiders holds the ball.
Gettyimages | Ethan Miller

Although he is only 27 years old and still has time to live up to his potential as the second overall pick of the 2015 draft, Mariota has apparently become less appealing in the trade market as of late. NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport tweeted on Wednesday that interest in the former Oregon Ducks star has “slowed considerably” and there’s a possibility that the Raiders will opt to release him instead.

As speculated by Bleacher Report, this could mean Washington might only have to sacrifice a fifth-round pick in order to acquire Mariota. 

WFT Should Release 'Risky Starter' Smith

Alex Smith of the Washington Football Team throws a pass.
Gettyimages | Greg Fiume

Given the recommendation that Washington upgrade its quarterback rotation by acquiring Mariota, the outlet also stressed that the organization should ideally cut Smith -- a "risky starter" who will be turning 37 years old in May.

Due to his return from a serious leg injury that was life-threatening at one point, Smith was given the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year award last season. His numbers, however, were a far cry from the ones he used to post in his prime, as he finished the 2020 campaign with only six touchdown passes and eight interceptions.