February 19, 2024   3 MIN READ

Passing By?

Stay Or Go: Could Marcus Mariota Fly The Coop After 1 Year?


The Eagles, who roster 19 pending free agents, will have some difficult decisions to ponder over the next few weeks.

A blend of legacy mainstays, starters, and key reserves are potentially primed to hit the open market when the free-agent signing period opens March 13. Turnover is expected, though cases could be made for some familiar faces to return.

As a free-agent primer, our Inside the Birds “Stay or Go” series featuring one offensive position group and one defensive position group daily begins with quarterback and defensive tackle.

QB Marcus Mariota

Mariota on separate occasions mentioned how his brief Eagles tenure rekindled his appetite for football, pointing to culture and team chemistry. While Mariota’s uneven summer caused some trepidation entering the season, the veteran was sparsely called upon, appearing in only three games.

Players spoke glowingly of Mariota, and his experience is an added benefit to the quarterback room. But I suspect if Mariota has his preference, he’ll want to play for a West Coast team.

The Eagles have second-year quarterback Tanner McKee in the fold, but to optimize their Super Bowl window, they’ll look to target a veteran arm on the open market. Names like the Tyler Huntley (Baltimore Ravens) or Easton Stick – whom Kellen Moore coached in Los Angeles – could make sense.

The fact that Mariota was nowhere to be found during locker clean-out – nor was there a speck of dust in his stall – signals to me he’s turned the page.

Marcus Mariota

GETTY IMAGES: Marcus Mariota said his one year backing up Jalen Hurts rekindled his flame. Will the vet QB be looking for a starting job elsewhere?

Verdict: Go

Fletcher Cox

GETTY IMAGES: Veteran DT/franchise legend Fletcher Cox showed he has gas left in the tank, but will the Eagles be moving on?

DT Fletcher Cox

One could argue the 33-year-old Cox was the Eagles’ most consistent player on defense, logging five sacks and 17 quarterback hits – his most since 2018. The 12-year veteran also accrued nearly 700 snaps. But playing at a high level often comes at a price, one that the Eagles might be reluctant to match given their investments in first-round interior players Jordan Davis and Jalen Carter.

There’s also the belief that Cox, a four-time All-Pro and franchise great, could call it a career. Operating under the assumption that Cox, who remains undecided on his future, has at least one more season in the tank and likely priced himself out of the Eagles’ range, it seems likely he’ll play elsewhere in 2024.

While it’ll be almost impossible to replace Cox’s production and intangibles, the Eagles will probably be passing the baton to Davis, Carter, and fourth-year pro Milton Williams.

Verdict: Go

– Andrew DiCecco (@AndrewDiCecco) is a Staff Reporter/Content Producer for InsideTheBirds.com.

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