Brandon Marshall is on the move, heading from the Chicago Bears to the New York Jets.
A person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press that the Jets agreed to acquire the star wide receiver on Friday, pending a physical exam.
The trade, the first by new Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan, is for an unspecified draft pick, according to the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because neither team had announced the deal. The trade cannot become official until the NFL’s new league year begins next Tuesday.
It was a busy and headline-making day for Maccagnan, who earlier Friday re-signed linebacker Davis Harris to a three-year contract.
Marshall, who turns 31 on March 23, has played the last three seasons with the Bears. He dealt with injuries and had 61 catches last season, his lowest total since his rookie year with Denver in 2006, for 721 yards and eight touchdowns.
The Bears will save $7.7 million by dealing Marshall, and also create nearly $4 million in salary cap space. He is signed through 2017, but the final two years aren’t guaranteed – meaning the Jets could reevaluate the move after the 2015 season.
Marshall will pair with Eric Decker and Jeremy Kerley on the Jets’ receiving corps, but the move also leaves the future of Percy Harvin in doubt. Harvin is due $10.5 million next season, but Marshall’s arrival likely makes him expendable.
If the Jets cut Harvin by March 19, they would owe Seattle a sixth-round draft pick after acquiring him from Seattle last October. If Harvin remains past that date, the Jets would give up a fourth-rounder.
Marshall has 773 career receptions for 1,289 yards and 65 touchdowns in nine NFL seasons. He is familiar with new Jets coach Todd Bowles, who was an assistant with the Miami Dolphins when Marshall played there in 2010 and 2011. Bowles was the interim coach for three games at the end of the 2011 season. Jets receivers coach Karl Dorrell was also Marshall’s position coach in Miami in 2010.
Marshall has often been outspoken and sometimes controversial, but has also been one of the league’s best at his position. He has caught 100 or more passes in five seasons, and had seven straight years of 1,000 yards or more receiving – a streak that was stopped last year when he had a nagging ankle injury and then missed the final three games after sustaining two broken ribs and a collapsed lung against Dallas on Dec. 4.
When healthy, Marshall is a true No. 1 receiver who can take over games, something the Jets have lacked for years. Jerricho Cotchery is the last Jets player with 1,000 yards receiving or more in 2007.
Decker, who was New York’s biggest free-agent signing last year, led the team with 74 catches for 962 yards and five TDs. But, he’ll surely benefit from the addition of Marshall, who will take away double teams from Decker and give the Jets another vertical presence in the offense.
The big question for the Jets is who will be throwing them the ball. Geno Smith is heading into his third year, but has mostly struggled in his first two NFL seasons and New York could be in the market for a quarterback in the draft – particularly Oregon’s Marcus Mariota or Florida State’s Jameis Winston.
The Jets could also try to add depth at the quarterback position by bringing in a veteran to compete with Smith during training camp. Michael Vick was Smith’s backup last season, but is not expected to be re-signed.
Marshall has said he suffers from borderline personality disorder, and has been an active spokesman for mental health during the last few years. He has been fined by the NFL in the past for wearing green cleats to support his mental illness foundation.
Marshall is also known as a fiery competitor, and has been willing to speak his mind – parlaying that into a spot on Showtime’s “Inside The NFL” last season. He would fly from Chicago to New York every Tuesday during the season to tape the show. He has also had his shares of off-field issues, having been arrested twice for domestic violence incidents. Charges in both cases were later dropped.
Marshall was a fourth-round draft pick by Denver in 2006 out of Central Florida, and he quickly established himself as one of the most physical – he’s 6-foot-4, 230 pounds – and elusive receivers in the league. He set the NFL record with 21 catches in a game at Indianapolis in 2009.
He was traded to the Dolphins in 2010 for a second-round draft pick that year and a second-rounder the following year. Marshall was traded to the Bears in 2012 for draft picks, reuniting him with quarterback Jay Cutler – his former teammate in Denver.
SOURCE: The Associated Press
Dennis Waszak Jr.