Chip Kelly wanted Marcus Mariota. It was obvious. When he said a few months ago that he would never “mortgage the future” for any player, he was drawing a line in the sand on what he would offer. Still, reports on draft day made it seem as though he was ready to do the exact thing he said he wouldn’t do, but it never came to pass.
“Yeah, he’s a talented player. I mean a hundred drunks at a bar can tell you that he’s a hell of a quarterback. That wasn’t a question. The question was: What’s the cost? And to be honest with you, I don’t know if anything would have got Tennessee off of the pick. And I said the same thing. If I was in Tennessee’s situation I wouldn’t entertain any offers either. That’s how talented he is. So, they were right. If we coulda got a deal done because of how talented he is, yea. But I said that a month ago. People thought he’s just saying that to say that, but I never thought a deal would be done because I knew how talented he was and I know if I was in that situation I wouldn’t have made a deal either.”
DG: What about the weeks leading up to the draft?
“First time we ever talked to Tennessee was Wednesday … That’s why when you hear all these deals that are rumored just logically think about it. Why would anybody make a deal when you don’t even know who it is. Oh, we have a great deal for number two, and then he goes number one. So what happens to that deal we talked about three months ago? It just doesn’t work that way. Deals are made within 24 hours of the draft and most of the time are contingent upon if our guy is available on the clock so. I think it makes good print it makes good radio, but there was never any conversation with us and Tennessee until Wednesday and the conversation on Wednesday was let’s talk tomorrow.”
Some of that may be fudging it a bit, but that’s the answer you get when you actually ask the question.