Marcus Mariota not fretting pay cut: 'Just excited to be a Raider'

Marcus Mariota isn’t down about taking a pay cut to remain part of the Las Vegas Raiders.

The Hawaii native told Rob DeMello of KHON2 that he’s “just excited to be a Raider,” and remaining with Jon Gruden’s club was more significant than any pay decrease.

“I think at the end of the day. I focus on controlling what I can control,” he said. “That’s the product in the field. Every day I wake up, I train, and get ready to go. At the end of the day, we’re very blessed to play this game for a living. A lot of us make a really good amount of money. For me, I just love playing the game. The excitement, the opportunity to be a Raider, overcame all of that. To be here in Vegas, to be a part of this organization meant a lot more to me. I’m excited to be able to come back.”

Mariota accepted a pay decrease from $10.752 million to $3.5 million with incentives that could push the deal back up to $8 million — presumably if Derek Carr gets injured and Mariota becomes the starter.

After the Raiders initially pushed for a pay cut to $3 million, the thought was Mariota would reject the decrease and Vegas would cut the high-priced backup, allowing him to hit the open market and choose his next job location.

However, according to Mariota, his desire to remain with the Raiders was stronger than pursuing any other opportunities.

“I think at the end of the day the adversities, the challenges that you face, ultimately will kind of develop who you are,” said Mariota. “I’m just excited to hopefully get over that hump. I feel like I’ve gotten healthy. I have an opportunity to have a little bit of stability, something that’s kind of been elusive in my career. I’m just excited to be in a place that I’m comfortable. I’m confident. I’m just going to do everything I can help this team win.”

It’s possible Mariota and his reps didn’t see another place where the former first-round pick might have a better avenue to potentially start, or his market wouldn’t have netted him any more than the $3.5 million with incentives. Mitchell Trubisky signing in Buffalo as a backup for $2.5 million didn’t help his cause. Joe Flacco signing in Philly for $3.5 million, plus incentives, on Tuesday, underscored the potential issues in Mariota finding another job.

For one more year, Mariota will enter the season as the Raiders backup. If he flashes as he did in his one extended action last season, he’ll hit the open market in 2022 with better options.

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