Chip Kelly nearly mortgaged the future to move up in the 2015 draft and take his favorite quarterback. The franchise-changing trade never happened, although the Philadelphia Eagles did make an offer for the No. 2 overall pick that year.

The man being discussed was Marcus Mariota, the Heisman Trophy winner from Oregon where Kelly had served as his college coach. The non-move would have shifted gears for the Eagles. They wouldn’t have drafted Carson Wentz in 2016. After that? It’s hard to say. Maybe they don’t win the Super Bowl in 2017. Or draft Jalen Hurts in 2020.

Now all those memories are flooding back as rumors lurk about the Eagles possibly inking Mariota in free agency. The 29-year-old was released by the Las Vegas Raiders following an injury-riddled season (chronic knee issue) in Atlanta. He was eventually benched for Desmond Ridder in a decision Mariota took “very hard,” per CBS Sports.

Either way, Mariota is a free agent in 2023. Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine thinks he could “operate the offense competently” as a backup to Jalen Hurts in Philly. More importantly, he would come very cheap — less than the $2.5 million he earned last season. He wrote:

Gardner Minshew II is a free agent and no longer fits the Eagles’ identity on offense. Jalen Hurts has proved he is worth building around, and the backup needs to be a player who can start for a few weeks and provide a facsimile.

Marcus Mariota—who rushed for 438 yards and four touchdowns in addition to 2,219 passing yards this season—is a perfect fit for the role.

THIS JUST IN: Titans QB Marcus Mariota is out for the season with MCL sprain to his right knee. (via @mortreport)

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 21, 2015

The former No. 2 overall pick never lived up to the hype, but he’s more than serviceable. The 6-foot-4, 222-pounder remains a dual-threat quarterback with an accurate arm and great mobility. He threw for 2,219 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2022 while rushing for 438 yards and 4 scores.

Eagles Nearly Mortgaged the Future for Mariota

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Eagles Linked to Former No. 2 Pick: ‘Perfect Fit,’ Says Analyst

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