NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Titans plan to pick up the fifth-year option on Marcus Mariota’s rookie contract for the 2019 season.
General manager Jon Robinson confirmed to Paul Kuharsky on Wednesday that the team would be making the move ahead of the May 3rd deadline. The news comes one day after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made the decision to exercise the same option on their young quarterback, Jameis Winston, who was selected first overall in the 2015 NFL Draft with Mariota being picked second that year.
Mariota is scheduled to make $3.73 million in 2018 and will now earn $20.922 million in 2019, per OverTheCap.com.
His status with the team never truly in question, Mariota endured a statistically lackluster 2017 campaign and health issues that have disrupted each of his first three seasons; the fifth-year option is merely a formality as the two sides look towards a long-term contract extension that will likely come next offseason. The 24-year-old helped lead Tennessee to its first playoff berth since 2008, followed by the club’s first postseason win since 2003.
Mike Mularkey was relieved of his duties as the Titans head coach in January after a 35-15 loss in New England to the Patriots in this year’s AFC Divisional Round, in part, because of concerns that Mariota’s development as a passer seemed to regress under Mularkey’s staff. In the 2017-2018 regular season, the Heisman-winner out of Oregon threw more interceptions (15) than scores (13). Mariota has completed 61.8% of his passes for 9,476 yards and 58 passing touchdowns with 34 interceptions in his career.
Tennessee hopes that its franchise quarterback will return to form under new offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur, who was brought in this offseason as a part of rookie head coach Mike Vrabel’s staff.