Over the course of the 2014-15 seasons, the Tennessee Titans finished with a combined 5-27 win-loss record. That second year also saw the debut of quarterback Marcus Mariota. The 2014 Heisman Trophy winner had his ups and downs but showed enough promise while taking his lumps.

That season of on-the-job training would certainly pay off for a franchise that is still looking for its first playoff appearance since 2008. This past season, he and running back DeMarco Murray were the main offensive catalysts in a 9-7 showing. So what’s next for Mariota and his team?

And why is anyone already talking about a new contract after only two seasons?

A year of improvement

In 2015, the former University of Oregon star was the second overall pick in the draft behind Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, who was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Mariota would play and start in 12 games during his debut campaign with the Tennessee Titans. He hit on 62.2 percent of his passes for 2,818 yards and 19 scores compared to 10 interceptions. But he also fumbled 10 times and lost six of those miscues. Mariota also finished second on the team with 252 yards on the ground, with two touchdowns.

Fast forward to 2016 and progress was certainly made. Before going down in Week 16 with a broken leg, the two-year pro racked up 3,426 yards through the air and nearly three times as many TD passes (26) as picks.

Mariota saw his completion percentage slip a big (61.2) but he did a slightly better job of hanging onto the football (9 fumbles/5 lost). The latter is an area that continues to need work. Too many of his miscues have been returned for touchdowns, which is not entirely his fault. On the other hand, putting the ball on the turf a combined 19 times and losing 11 of those fumbles is certainly an issue that needs addressing.

What’s the rush?

So when Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr agreed to his new five-year, $125 million deal, there were those who wondered how it would affect some of the other young players at his position down the road. At the moment, it appears to be the last thing on the mind of the starting signal-caller for the improving Tennessee Titans.

“For any athlete, anybody in professional sports, it’s out of your control,” said Mariota in a recent interview with KHON2 in Hawaii. “I mean, you’ve got to play well, you’ve got to do certain things, things kind of have to line up for those contracts to happen. I can’t think about next season or the season after that.”