The first thought that came into many minds after word broke of the latest allegation of off-field violence against receiver Brandon Marshall was that the Bears got snookered. The Dolphins knew, the Bears didn’t, and that’s why the deal went down.
The Bears are publicly saying otherwise. In a statement issued moments ago, the teams acknowledges that it knew about the situation.
“Both the Bears and Dolphins were aware of what occurred over the weekend,” G.M. Phil Emery said. “We decided to move forward with the trade. We have high expectations for Brandon as a Bear.”
It probably would have looked worse if the Bears hadn’t known, given the Sam Hurd situation from last year. It still looks pretty bad that they’d give up two third-round picks for a guy who still hasn’t figured out how to not simply stay on the right side of the line but to stay as far away from the line as possible.
And the timing nevertheless invites speculation that the Bears didn’t know, but that they’ve chosen the perception of recklessness over the perception of stupidity. If the Bears knew, they should have found a way to control the release of the information in a way that slammed the door on any suggestion that they were clueless, such as leaking the story to a beat writer along with key details like “the Bears knew about it, the Bears investigated it, the Bears don’t believe it will be a problem, and the Bears used it to drive down the price.”
Regardless of whether it will indeed be a problem, Marshall is now the Bears’ problem.