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Commanders agree to sign quarterback Marcus Mariota to a 1-year deal, AP source says

By STEPHEN WHYNO (AP Sports Writer)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Marcus Mariota is going to the Washington Commanders. Could Jayden Daniels or Drake Maye be next?

The Commanders bringing in an experienced veteran backup quarterback such as Mariota on Tuesday may be foreshadowing their plans for the NFL draft and signaling the direction they’re headed for the future of the position.

Washington agreed with Mariota on a one-year contract with a base salary of $6 million that could be worth up to $10 million, according to a person familiar with the deal. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the contract cannot be made official until the new league year opens Wednesday.

Mariota, 30, has appeared in 90 NFL games and started 74 for four teams since being taken with the second pick in the 2015 draft, most recently serving as Jalen Hurts’ backup in Philadelphia last season.

Adding the 30-year-old Oregon product increases the likelihood of Washington using the No. 2 pick this year on a QB. Daniels, the Heisman Trophy winner out of LSU, and North Carolina’s Maye are among the prospects expected to be available if Chicago takes Southern California’s Caleb Williams first.

It’s not out of the realm of possibility for the Commanders to draft a QB and keep 2023 starter Sam Howell, along with Mariota.

“Obviously I have no idea what the decision is going to be,” said veteran tight end Zach Ertz, who signed his one-year contract with Washington on Tuesday. “Building a team is a 365-day-a-year job, so whatever they do today may not be the final verdict come Sept. 10 or whenever the first game is.”

Another person familiar with the situation said the Commanders agreed to a one-year contract with defensive end Clelin Ferrell. A third person said they agreed with guard Nick Allegretti on a $16 million, three-year contract with $9.02 million guaranteed, and a fourth person said they agreed to a deal with edge rusher Dante Fowler.

They also spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the contracts cannot be official until Wednesday. The same goes for an agreement with safety Jeremy Chinn, which his agency confirmed on social media.

Since the free agent negotiating period opened Monday, the Commanders also agreed to bring in running back Austin Ekeler, center Tyler Biadasz, defensive lineman Dorance Armstrong, linebacker Frankie Luvu and kicker Brandon McManus. It’s all part of new general manager Adam Peters’ retooling effort with coach Dan Quinn.

Ferrell, who turns 27 in May, started 17 games and had 3 1/2 sacks last season for the 49ers. The fourth pick of the 2019 draft by the Raiders, he has appeared in 75 games with Oakland/Las Vegas and San Francisco.

Ferrell and Armstrong help fill the edge rushing void left by trading Chase Young and Montez Sweat before the deadline in October. Biadasz and Allegretti are part of an offensive line overhaul.

Allegretti, who turns 28 next month, filled in for the Super Bowl-winning Kansas City Chiefs when starter Joe Thuney went down with an injury during the playoffs. He played roughly half the Super Bowl with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow.

Much is left to do on the offensive line, including figuring out a solution at left tackle. This year’s draft is deep at that spot, and Washington has two second-round picks (Nos. 36 and 40) and two thirds (Nos. 67 and 99).

Ertz, who agreed to his deal last week, said on a video call with reporters that the trio of Peters, Quinn and new offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury was the biggest reason that Washington was an opportunity he could not pass up — Kingsbury in particular because Ertz played for him in Arizona.

“He’s a guy that was one of the best offensive minds that I have been around up to date, and I still feel that way, so I’m extremely excited to get back in his offense and also just help this team, help this organization kind of build success from the ground up,” Ertz said. “I can’t wait to see what he does with these quarterbacks and, I would say, whoever else we bring in.”


AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi in Tampa, Florida, contributed to this report.



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