After word emerged that the Seahawks were interested in receiver Brandon Marshall, multiple reports surfaced that the Broncos will consider nothing less than that to which they’re entitled under the rules of restricted free agency — the Seahawks’ first-round draft pick, the sixth overall selection in the 2010 draft.
Even though the Seahawks also have the 14th overall pick, which they acquired last year from the Broncos for the second-round pick that became cornerback Alphonso Smith, the Broncos apparently aren’t interested in talking trade. Instead, Denver wants the Seahawks to sign Marshall to an offer sheet — at which time the Broncos would have seven days to decide whether to match or to accept Seattle’s pick in round one, the sixth overall pick in the draft.
So what should the Seahawks do? As we suggested in a recent item at SportingNews.com, they should offer the 14th overall pick to any team that is able to finagle Marshall for a selection in the bottom half of round one.
More specifically, the Seahawks should offer the opportunity to the Chargers, who hold the 28th pick in the first round.
The steps are simple. San Diego would sign Marshall to an offer sheet containing terms to which the Seahawks know Marshall will agree. (A poison pill should be included to ensure that the Broncos won’t match the offer; arguably, a poison pill must be included to head off an eventual accusation of collusion from the NFLPA.)
The offer sheet would include a provision that defers for five days or after the deal becomes effective the payment of any money, so that the Chargers never have to actually cut a check to Marshall.
Then, after the offer sheet isn’t matched and Marshall becomes a Charger and the 28th overall pick flows from San Diego to Denver, the Chargers would send Marshall to Seattle for the 14th overall pick.
There would be no salary cap consequences, since there is no salary cap. (Also, we vaguely recall similar sign-and-trade arrangements from past years featuring structures that allow the deals to be made without a cap hit to the team that signs the player to the contract and then trades him.)
We’re aware of no impediment to such a transaction. Though there’s technically a bit of collusion at work, it’s the kind of collusion that the NFLPA should welcome, since it ultimately encourages player movement. In the end, the Chargers get Marshall out of the division, they move from No. 28 to No. 14 in round one, and the Chargers have the satisfaction of sticking it to an arch rival.
We know it sounds too good to be true, and we’re in the process of asking around to see if any portion of the CBA prevents such a transaction. But it strikes us as a simple and easy way to get around Denver’s apparent refusal to take the 14th overall pick for Marshall — and the mere possibility of such a move might be all the Seahawks need to soften up the Broncos to take pick No. 14 instead of pick No. 6.