Marcus Mariota Benching Is Latest Sign Offseason NFL QB Carousel Was A Bust

The great quarterback carousel of the 2022 offseason was a total failure. The full story can be told now that Deshaun Watson is back on the field and Marcus Mariota has lost his starting job.

During the offseason nine NFL teams made significant quarterback acquisitions to help them this season. Eight of those transactions, with Andy Dalton signing in New Orleans as the exception, were done with the idea of adding a starting quarterback.

All but one has been a failure. And the one that isn't a total bust so far is dependent on one's opinion because it is Watson. He was suspended 11 games, didn't play well in his first game back, and cost the Browns three first round picks plus a fully guaranteed $230 million contract.

Everyone else?

No bueno.

The Falcons, Steelers, Colts, Broncos, Commanders, Panthers, and Seahawks all made significant QB moves with the idea of adding their 2022 starting quarterback.

None of those quarterbacks are living up to expectations this season. The only one still starting is Russell Wilson, who is having the worst season of his 11-year professional career. The Broncos acquired Wilson in exchange for two first- and two second-round picks plus several players.

Russell Wilson Among Long List Of Failures

The others?


Mariota has lost his starting job in Atlanta. He was signed to replace Matt Ryan and either be the bridge starter for a while or a revelation who has finally captured the potential he once had as the No. 2 overall selection of the 2015 draft.

Mariota didn't capture that potential and the bridge has now burned down with Desmond Ridder about to take the reins of the Falcons offense.

Mariota, owed a $3 million roster bonus next March, is either going to have to rework that part of his contract or he'll be on the move again next offseason.

Ryan was traded from the Falcons to the Colts. He, too, is having the worst season of his 15-year career. He was benched earlier this season for Sam Ehlinger.

The Colts added Ryan to take them to the playoffs, something Carson Wentz couldn't do. He won't be doing it, either.

Wentz Hasn't Worked Out In Washington

About Wentz: He's on his third team after being traded to the Commanders from the Colts. And looking at his stats (10 TDs and 6 interceptions) it was not a total disaster.

But the Commanders didn't play for him like they've been playing for Taylor Heinicke. The Commanders are 5-1-1 with Heinicke at the helm compared to 2-4 with Wentz.

Wentz's days as the presumed NFL starter for some team are over.

The Steelers needed a starting QB after Ben Roethlisberger's retirement. They signed Mitch Trubisky to be that guy while rookie Kenny Pickett developed.

Except the offense was so uninspiring with Trubisky during his four starts that the team decided to heck with Pickett's development and thrust him into the lineup. Pretty sure Trubisky's days as a presumed NFL starter are also over.

Mayfield Failed In Carolina, Now He'll Try L.A.

The Los Angeles Rams and Las Vegas Raiders play Thursday night. And there's a possibility Baker Mayfield, who was claimed off waivers by the Rams on Tuesday, could play in the game.

That's not because Mayfield is good but rather because the Rams are desperate. Starter Matt Stafford is on injured reserve, second-stringer John Wolford is banged up and third-stringer Bryce Perkins is not really ready.

So Mayfield may get a chance to shine. Except he got a chance in Cleveland and failed. And got a chance in Carolina and failed after the Panthers acquired him this offseason.

Mayfield arrived in Carolina and beat out Sam Darnold to start. And that was his last good moment in Charlotte until he got on that plane out of town.

I should mention Drew Lock. He was part of the Wilson trade. And he arrived in Seattle with designs of competing for the starting job. The Seahawks let him do that.

But Lock lost the competition to previous backup Geno Smith, who suddenly is having a good season.

What is the moral here?

The QB carousel was interesting and even exciting in the offseason, with nine teams seemingly getting new starters. But then the games started.

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

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Armando Salguero is a national award-winning columnist and is OutKick's Senior NFL Writer. He has covered the NFL since 1990 and is a selector for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and a voter for the Associated Press All-Pro Team and Awards. Salguero, selected a top 10 columnist by the APSE, has worked for the Miami Herald, Miami News, Palm Beach Post and ESPN as a national reporter. He has also hosted morning drive radio shows in South Florida.