Last year, after receiver Brandon Marshall arrived in Miami via trade from the Broncos, his contract widely was reported as being worth $50 million over five years, with $24 million of it guaranteed.
It sounded too good to be true because, well, it was too good to be true. The contract actually was a one-year, $9.5 million deal with, as a practical matter, an option on the rest of the deal.
If the Dolphins choose to cut the cord, they’ll owe Marshall only $3 million in guaranteed salary, subject to an offset. (As we wrote it up last year, the Dolphins had until April 2, 2011 to make a decision; the contract most likely specified that the Dolphins have until the 30th day of the new league year to make a decision — and the new league year has yet to begin.)
If they choose to keep Marshall, he’s owed a $3 million option bonus and guaranteed base salaries of $6.5 million in 2011 and $6 million in 2012.
So, basically, $15.5 million is riding on the team’s decision as to whether it makes sense to bring him back. Based on what they learn after investigating the altercation that resulted in Marshall being stabbed in the stomach by his wife, the Dolphins could decide not to take the risk.
In making up their minds, the Dolphins also should consider an excellent time line of the many trouble spots in Marshall’s career, prepared by Mike Klis of the Denver Post.
Of course, parting with Marshall would result in the wasting of the second-round picks in 2010 and 2011 that were shipped to Denver for his rights. Given that the Dolphins have wasted plenty of second-rounders in recent years (A.J. Feeley, Daunte Culpepper, John Beck, Pat White), they may decide that saving money makes more sense than saving face.