Should the Saints Bring in Marcus Mariota?

Drew_Brees_prepares_to_pass_vs_Seahawks_in_2011_NFC_wildcard

Over the next three weeks, FishDuck.com Feature Writer Caleb Couturie will be analyzing the 25 teams in the NFL Draft that may look to select Marcus Mariota.

Previous Article: Click here

No. 12: The New Orleans Saints

NO’s Draft Pick: Thirteenth

NO’s 2015 Cap Space: $(-20,411,945)

NO’s Top Needs: LB/CB/QB

As a lifelong Saints fan, and now of course a lifelong Ducks fan, I must say I’m a little biased with this one. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? OF COURSE I WANT MARCUS TO GO TO THE SAINTS.

Now that I’ve got that out of my system, let’s actually break this down. Drew Brees is 36 years old, and although last year he said he wants to play until he’s 45, reality might need to set in a little sooner than that. Brees still posted amazing numbers last season (and was snubbed of a Pro Bowl selection originally), but his numbers were a little less Brees-like than normal. Even if Brees is thinking ahead to 2024, so is the Saints organization. (Hint: they’re probably not thinking the same thing.)

If Brees truly cares about the Saints, and the organization’s future, he’ll understand if management decides to make a move for Marcus Mariota.

HOW IT CAN HAPPEN:

New Orleans trades: 2015 first, 2015 second, 2016 first, 2016 third, 2017 first and 2017 third picks.

Tampa Bay trades: No. 1 pick.

The Saints are in the middle of a salary cap nightmare, so losing all those picks would hurt the team a good amount. Not only would they be losing out on a chance to sign young talent, but they’re missing out on cheap young talent. This off-season the Saints will be working hard to restructure contracts and make necessary cuts to get their cap under control, and trading up to get the No. 1 pick definitely won’t help their situation. For them, it’s all about desire.

If the Saints were to feel strongly enough about Mariota, which there is a chance they might, they could pull the trigger on this. Sean Payton is an offensive-minded coach who loves to develop schemes to play to a player’s strengths, and with New Orleans running so much of their offense out of the gun, Mariota should do just fine while he adapted to their system.

For Tampa Bay, adding the bonus picks from their division rivals is both satisfying and logical. Tampa Bay needs to beef up their depth at more than just QB, so they could afford to miss out on taking Mariota or Jameis Winston this year if they worked hard to fill their other needs with all the bonus picks.

HOW MARIOTA WOULD DO IN NO:

Great. Again, I’m biased here so take that as you will, but the Saints are just a generally excellent team for a young QB to join. Not only would Mariota have loads of talent surrounding him (Mark Ingram, Jimmy Graham, Marques Colston and Brandin Cooks for starters), but he’d have one of the brightest and most successful offensive-minded coaches working with him. Payton’s relationship with Brees is partially why the Saints have seen so much success over recent years, and that relationship is no fluke.

Payton loves to work with his QBs very closely, and if he truly thought Brees needed a replacement soon, then he’d love to get a guy like Mariota who already has excellent leadership skills and a high football IQ. Plus, one of Mariota’s biggest weaknesses is his accuracy with his long ball. Very few QBs in the league throw a better long ball than Drew Brees, so if Brees could mentor Mariota he’d be able to polish the rough edges of Mariota’s game and transform him into a truly dominant NFL QB.

WOULD HE START?:

No way. Drew Brees will be the Saints starter until the day he stops throwing for 4,900+ yards in a season. However, if Mariota were to pull a Brett Favre/Aaron Rodgers type deal with Brees, then in a few years the Hawaiian could not only be ready to take over as Brees’ replacement, but he’d be a force to be reckoned with.

QUICK HITS:

NO’s Projected Record with Mariota: 11-5

NO’s Projected Record W/O Mariota: 11-5

Mariota’s first year stats: 220 yards passing/2 pass TDs/1 INT/1 Rushing TD

Top Photo by commons.wikimedia.org

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Caleb Couturie

Caleb Couturie

Caleb is a sophomore at the University of Oregon intending to double major in Journalism and Sports Management. He is the Managing Editor for FishDuck.com, along with being a lifetime Saints and San Francisco Giants fan, as Caleb fell in love with sports at a young age and developed that love into a passion for sports analysis. He is looking forward to cheering on the Ducks throughout his career at Oregon, and is always willing to talk sports with any fellow fan.

  • PanheadCatahoulas

    This is insane. No way he will be available when Saints draft, and now way they are going down the Ricky Williams road again for any one player.

    • Caleb

      Yeah, I doubt it too. Fun to think about though.

  • Guest

    7 picks – 3 EA 1st round, 1 EA 2nd round and 2 EA 3rd round, for a QB that will not start for 3-5 years? You are definitely trying to mix your bias of being a Saints and Ducks fan into one huge nightmare. I see the Saints trying to extend Brees until 2020 while restructuring his salary in order to save cap space. That would be the most logical route for them to travel, along with restructuring other veteran players. They will most probably look for a developmental QB (3rd-5th round) of 2016 draft. Their most glaring needs are defensive back, linebacker and offensive line, it will take the first 5 picks this year to sort that out.

    • Caleb

      Trust me, I agree it’s unlikely. As a Saints fan I don’t think this is even close to the best option for them. But signing Brees through 2020 and keeping him on until he’s 42 is equally insane. Brees will demand a huge price tag and that’s too much risk for a 35+ year old QB.

      • Guest

        I doubt Brees would ask for as high of a price tag as what you think. He is still at the top of his game. Interceptions went up this past year a little bit, but he is still performing at an elite level. Keep in mind that Peyton Manning has had multiple surgeries and still performing at an elite level and he is 38 with 2 years left on his contract. Tom Brady is 37 with three years remaining on his contract and is still playing at an elite level. People continually seem to think that Brees is in decline and it is an astonishing rapid decline. I call BS. He still led the league (shared with Big Ben) in passing yards. He has thrown for at least 5,000 yards 4 times, which is half of the total amount of 5,000 yard seasons in history, and missed it this year by 48 yards or so. He is the only QB in history to throw for 5,000+ yards in a season more than once. On the record books he ranks 4th in completions, 5th in attempts, 4th in total passing yards, 4th in TD’s, 36th in INTs and he ranks 1st in completion %. he has throw for at least 4000 yards in every season he has played with the Saints, yes the yardage is down over the last three years, but it is hard to throw for 5476 yards each year. He only threw 33 TD’s this year, but I would call that having a down year, adjusting to the loss of Darren Sproles and Lance Moore, who were two of his most dependable targets, as well as a couple of injuries to Pierre Thomas, who has been his most consistent pass catching back, and one of the best pass catching backs in the NFL. In 2013, Thomas and Sproles had 77 and 72 receptions respectively, more than most receivers on other teams, and with one of them traded and the other injured for part of the year, that dynamic aspect of Brees game plan suffered. The possibility of Brees being extended until the 2020 season is not outside the realm of possibility. He is currently 36 years old, and if you added 5 years to his contract, he would be 41 (42 if they made the playoffs in 2020) when he decided to retire. I think Brees would be willing to restructure/extend his contract through that time frame and retire as a New Orleans Saint, while providing salary cap relief to his team in order to acquire better defensive backs, which was the single biggest weakness this past year. If I was the Saints, I would do my best to protect myself, offer a top rate deal, but conservative. Guarantee money for the next 3 years, and the last two years of his contract, guaranteed money would be subject to performance. Kind of a like a lighter version of the Kaepernick deal in San Fran, but with more guaranteed money on the front end, and in the event Brees skills decline on the back end of the 5 year extension, I protect myself, but if his skills do not decline on the back end, he gets rewarded for his outstanding play – a win win of sorts. If the Saints would approach Brees the right way, and not slap him in the face with an insulting offer, I think he may be game to take a contract similar to what I have in my head, but I am not a player, I am not an agent and I am not a member of the Saints front office, I am just a fan looking for a win-win for the sake of the team. I doubt any of it happens, but it sure would be cool if it did. A lot cooler than trading 7 draft picks out of our next three drafts for a QB that is a developmental prospect instead of a starter from day 1.

        • Caleb

          Dude trust me you don’t have to prove to me how good drew Brees is. I’ve watched every single game he’s played in a Saints uniform. I love him.