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Could Marcus Mariota trade talk go beyond draft?

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Journey To The Draft: Marcus Mariota

Mel Kiper Jr. breaks down some of the strengths and weaknesses of Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.

PHILADELPHIA -- My first reaction to this piece by Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com was a silent scream of despair.

It has been an interesting couple of months, speculating about the possibility the Philadelphia Eagles would trade up in the draft for Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. But that speculation has to end at some point. Most of us had April 30 as the finish line for all the talk and projected trades and even more involved scenarios.

Then La Canfora comes along with this piece, which outlines how the Mariota speculation -- for the Eagles, Chargers and other teams -- doesn’t necessarily have to end next Thursday. No, La Canfora reasonably explains, the Tennessee Titans could select Mariota with the second overall pick and still entertain trade offers for him.

Cue the silent scream of despair.

This is not the normal way things get done in the NFL. But that doesn’t make La Canfora wrong. Heck, if Chip Kelly’s offseason rampage has shown us anything, it’s that he doesn’t give a flying hoot about the normal ways of the NFL. If anything, Kelly takes delight in doing things in new and unorthodox ways.

The main point is this: What good does it do anyone, from Tennessee to any of the teams seeking Mariota, to limit themselves to the 15 minutes after Tampa Bay makes the first pick in the draft? Until the Buccaneers commit to Jameis Winston (or any other player besides Mariota), no formal trade is possible.

Kelly could work out a tentative trade with the Titans for the second pick, but the Titans won’t be able to be sure that’s the best possible deal until the clock starts ticking on their selection. Sure, a team could come in with an offer that blows the Titans away and a deal could get done just like that. But the pressure of doing big business with long-term ramifications for a couple of billion-dollar companies in 15 minutes just seems kind of ridiculous.

So yes, the Titans could secure the rights to Mariota and then open the window for business. There are some less-than-ideal optics involved here. The Titans will have to endure Roger Goodell telling their fans that they have a new franchise quarterback, only to pull the rug from those same fans within a day or two. The Eagles, or any other team trading up, would have to make draft picks knowing that they could be flipping them for Mariota.

It all gets kind of messy. It would look better and feel better to get all of this cleared up on Thursday night. All of these teams have had months to work out possible deals. It will look more than a little amateurish to let all of this drag on much beyond the first round.

Ultimately, though, if it takes an extra day or two to complete a deal for Mariota, the Eagles and their fans won’t mind waiting a bit. The silent scream won’t last.