It’s been awhile since Marc Mariani has scored a touchdown in the NFL, but he’s getting attention in this free agency period not just from his last team the Chicago Bears, but also the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders.
Mariani played for the Bears in 2014 and 2015. Previously (2010-2013) he was with the Tennessee Titans. He made the Pro Bowl in 2010, and had two punt return touchdowns and one kickoff return TD during his first two years in the league. Since then it’s been quiet for him, and last season he finished with 6.6 yards per punt return on the Bears and 26.1 on his kick returns, which was ninth best in the NFL. As a receiver he had his best season with 22 receptions for 300 yards, but he also fumbled the ball three times last season.
So his ability to get yards on kick returns and maybe being used more and more as a slot receiver is going to get him a contract with someone in 2016, as he approaches his 29th birthday. He made $660,000 with the Bears last season, and it’s unlikely his contract will be much higher with anyone he signs, although it might get a little bit more impressive number-wise if some add-ons and incentives are put on there.
Overall, in six NFL seasons, Mariani has three return touchdowns, averaging 9.5 yards per punt return and 25 on kick returns. As a receiver, he has just 27 career receptions for 324 yards, although last season he showed there’s more to be done with him outside of the special teams comfort zone.