Age, contract, production, reputation make Marshall hard to move

AP

The Bears are trying to trade wide receiver Brandon Marshall. That won’t be easy.

Although Marshall is a five-time Pro Bowler, what he’s done in the past isn’t particularly relevant to what a team would be willing to give up for him now. What’s relevant is that Marshall’s production is declining with age, that he has an expensive contract, and that his reputation around the NFL is less than sterling.

Marshall will turn 31 this month, and last season he had his worst season since his rookie year. Marshall caught just 61 passes for 721 yards before suffering a season-ending injury in the 13th game of the season. That’s a sharp decline in production for a guy who had entered 2014 on a streak of seven consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. Like most players, Marshall has slowed down after his 30th birthday.

Another issue is Marshall’s contract, with a $7.5 million guarantee that comes due on March 12. Any team trading for Marshall would be inheriting that contract, unless Marshall is willing to restructure his deal. Marshall’s cap hit for 2015 is $9,575,000, which is the 16th biggest cap hit for a wide receiver in the NFL. If you’re going to pay a guy Top 16 money, that means you think he’s an above-average No. 1 receiver. Marshall has been an above-average No. 1 receiver in the past, but he’s not anymore.

There are also off-field questions that any team mulling a trade for Marshall would have to consider. Those issues go beyond the legal trouble Marshall faced multiple times early in his career: Marshall has spoken openly about his battle with mental illness, and he deserves credit for seeking treatment. But even if Marshall is now avoiding legal problems, there have been more recent reports that Marshall was a negative presence in the Bears’ locker room last season. Marshall has a reputation as a malcontent, and that’s not the kind of locker room presence teams want to acquire.

Add it all up, and it’s hard to see any team trading for Marshall. If the Bears don’t want him, they may have to cut him.

58 responses to “Age, contract, production, reputation make Marshall hard to move

  1. Crazy can be overlooked if there’s production, so expect him to be cut next week.

  2. Zero chance anyone trades for that contract. Don’t know the cap implications for releasing him, but if they are modest he will be cut.

    I doubt he is Randy Moss, Part II in New England, Jerry Jones could take a chance as he would be a monster paired with Dez Bryant and I can see Washington. Otherwise with a glut of receivers it’s hard to see where he ends up.

  3. BMarsh is a tough hombre who has played through a lot of pain during his years with the Bears. Props to him for that, but also know that with each year that passes, his body is wearing down more and more. His offseason training regimen is aggressive to say the least but at some point his body is going to reach the point of no return. I would be very surprised if he has more than two productive seasons left in him, and possibly less than that if his chronic hip issues are degenerative.

  4. Never been impressed with this guy. He’s a mental midget and never matured mentally beyond grade school

  5. Marshall hasn’t had any legal issues since he has seeked out treatment, he has been a public voice to something most people either don’t know about or don’t know how to deal with and applaud him for that. The player almost certainly leaking out that he was a locker room problem is kicker Robbie Gould because Brandon blasted him in the locker room. Robbie is a kicker and kickers shouldn’t talk. His numbers went down last year due to injury his previous two years in Chicago he was All Pro. If the Bears want to rebuild then trade Marshall but if you are trying to win next year then you keep him.

  6. Decline? The guy got hurt and he’s been playing with Jay Cutler for a QB who seems to get worse every year. The fact that he was able to string together a couple stellar seasons in that situation is amazing. Hook him up with a real QB and a team that doesn’t have their head up their a$$ and he’s still a very productive Wideout. To believe otherwise because of 1 bad year after 7 great years is beyond foolish.

  7. It must really suck to be a Bear’s fan right now and for the foreseeable future. Did Cutler earn his starting job back yet?

  8. If the Bears release him, they will save $3.950M under the cap with $5.625M in dead money.

    If a team trades for him, the new team will have a cap hit of $7.7M, while the Bears would have the same two #’s as above. (The Bears eat the dead money, not the trading team)

  9. Boldin was worth a 6th rounder at that same age.

    Marshall gives you more production, but given his off the field issues, is worth about the same

  10. I feel like swipes at his character are out of line. Give specific examples of his negative influence in the locker room. If you can’t give such examples, that’s weak!!! As far as his lack of production, look no further than who was throwing him the ball. I’d take him on my team ANY day.

  11. I think your take on him is wrong MDS. He is worth a trade look and he can produce for several more years. I don’t doubt that he will generate interest and I think many will give him much more credit for future success then apparently you do.

  12. With his yards after catch numbers, pair him in Denver across from D Thomas and that would be scary.

  13. 61 catches and 721 yards in less than 13 games extrapolates out to 75 catches for 887 yards for a season. And that’s on a 5-11 team last year wherein the starting QB got benched. I’d hardly call the guy chopped liver. I would say he is worth a flyer for a 5th rounder.

  14. He is the best player on their team. Truly. I don’t understand this at all. You want to trade your best player for a 4th rnd pick?

  15. We’ve been notified he will be traded for a 4th round pick (which is absurd). Stay near and dear.

  16. You can’t ignore that the guy is on his 3rd team team, maybe now his 4th – even though he produces big time. He seems to have grown up some since the BPD diagnosis (no off the field criminal stuff), yet he still does silly things. Getting into fights on twitter…doing a national tv show during the season…calling a strange press conference to talk about past domestic violence.

    He claims to want to win more than anything, but his focus isn’t solely on football (he says football is his platform – the mental health stuff is his purpose). Why not put that other stuff on hold for the next 3-5 years and be all about football? Get off of twitter, etc…

    As for this article, it’s unfair to talk about him being in decline after one injury-plagued year. He played/plays hurt. Some guys stub their toe and miss 3 games. I wouldn’t bet on this guy being in decline just yet.

  17. As a Bear fan, I really don’t understand this. By making public, their trade attempts to this point haven’t yielded any buyers, so they are now desperate. Also by making in public means he will likely to be cut if a trade partner is not found.

    At his age, he probably isn’t going to be worth quite the money he will be making. However, the production numbers you list are from a player that played hurt just about all year long on in offense/QB that played way below expectations. With analysts/media/agents always bringing up production numbers, why would a player play unless he is 100%. It’s more lucrative to not dress, blame the injury and not be a team player. I give Marshall a lot of credit for playing as much as he did last year.

    We have far worse contracts/cancers on the team (ahemm Cutler). At least we will get something for the money with Marshall.

  18. You can get Marshall for a 4th round pick…
    or Marshall and Cutler for a 7th round pick.

  19. “Marshall has been an above-average No. 1 receiver in the past, but he’s not anymore.”

    Overreact much? In the 7 years prior to the 2014 season, he had at least 100 receptions for 5 years and over 80 for the other two. Let’s not send him off to the glue factory after one off year. I’d love to see the Browns pick him up.

  20. No way he gets picked up in a trade… but as a free agent, a contender will grab him at a good price.
    Patriots, Seahawks, Eagles.

  21. Anyone in need of a receiver would be crazy not to take him. His contract is middle of the road for a #1, and he was the only person on the team who played like he still cared last year after Cutler had already given up. He goes off script sometimes, sure, but that just means he’s passionate. If Cobb leaves the Packers, I’d love for them to pick up Marshall to take his place.

  22. loubearkane says:
    Mar 5, 2015 3:30 PM
    Marshall hasn’t had any legal issues since he has seeked out treatment, he has been a public voice to something most people either don’t know about or don’t know how to deal with and applaud him for that. The player almost certainly leaking out that he was a locker room problem is kicker Robbie Gould because Brandon blasted him in the locker room. Robbie is a kicker and kickers shouldn’t talk. His numbers went down last year due to injury his previous two years in Chicago he was All Pro. If the Bears want to rebuild then trade Marshall but if you are trying to win next year then you keep him.

    Yeah because “blasting” someone definitely makes you an awesome teammate

  23. Really? Trashing the guy for a down year? The while team sucked. The QB sucked. Their D sucked. Not B Mars fault. I hope they do cut him, cause there will be a private jet waiting to pick him up to come sign with the dark side!

    RAIDER NATION!!!!!

  24. “Age, contract, production, reputation make Marshall hard to move”

    ————————–

    Granted, but — what’s that? — I know there’s a fire drill — alright alright I’m coming.

  25. Well, you said it, he missed the final 3.5 games of the year – at his usual production he very well might have topped 1,000 yards again if he had played those final 3.5 games

  26. azjohnny says:
    Mar 5, 2015 3:51 PM
    All of the issues BM had was due to Borderline Personality which can be controlled
    ——————————————————————–
    That is literally the dumbest thing I have ever read. It absolutely cannot be controlled. It can continually be treated with therapy and sometimes medication that is aimed at other issues that sometimes accompany BPD, however medication only reduces some symptoms, it doesn’t control them, or manage them or cure them. Nothing controls BPD. Stay in school.

  27. Why do teams make public comments like this? Don’t you think the Bears have contacted every team, including those in the CFL, Arena League and defunct USFL? Nobody wants him – why call this a story?

  28. I predict a meltdown from Marshall this year. He’ll be in jail or the hospital by the end of the season.

  29. Great idea, Bears – unload your most explosive player when you’re in a division where your only hope of making the playoffs is being more offensively explosive than Green Bay.

    If this lineup of A-list coaches can’t manage a very talented player who’s not anywhere near the top of the list of NFL malcontents, what does that say about their ability to lead this team?

  30. Randall Cobb turned down 8 mil. You can have Brandon for less. What is there to think about for WR starved teams? If the Browns were willing to put up with Josh Gordon, Marshall will be a walk in the park and, no dead money if you let him go after the season. The Browns have all kinds of cap room and it looks like they are not going to be able to sign a good QB, so why not spend some of it? What are they waiting for?

  31. megatronownsyou says:
    Mar 5, 2015 2:54 PM
    rl79111 says:
    Mar 5, 2015 1:22 PM
    megatronowns…NOTHING, but 2 choke playoff appearances on a team that has deep rooted history of being below average in the NFCN. Wasted talent on a team going no where with Stafford and a defense that only has Tulloch’s job security to look forward too, if Suh leaves…..

    Meanwhile, Hyzer’s still crying about a bad PI call that had zero impact on the Lions blowing that playoff game they shouldn’t have even been in, in the first place.

    I really want to know why you’re so obsessed with the Lions. I think you should get a job or a hobby or something

    ____________________________________
    megatronownsyou says:
    Mar 5, 2015 3:28 PM
    That alshonbrandontandem tool is going to cry when he gets traded

    hyzers says:
    Mar 5, 2015 3:31 PM
    It must really suck to be a Bear’s fan right now and for the foreseeable future. Did Cutler earn his starting job back yet?

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Now it makes sense, these Lion’s fans have a troll that clearly upsets them and they spit random feeble minded come backs on Bear’s post. We got some real winners on here.

  32. If Marshall goes or stays it makes no difference. He will still remain a scary threat for secondary’s and he still has value to be traded to a weak WR roster team, hopefully for young defensive help and/or draft pick……

    The Bears still have Alshon Jeffery, Marquess Wilson, Matt Forte and the Black Unicorn and Zach Miller has great hands too!

    This is a win, win (if, and only if, they get something good for a trade) for the Bear’s organization.

  33. I’ll forever be a Bears fan but the organization sure makes it hard to be sometimes.

    Defense is a hot mess that’s multiple seasons away from where it needs to be. Hey, I have an idea… Let’s trade the best WR to ever put on a Bears uniform for a sandwich Rob Lowe found on a bus and turn our offense into an even hotter mess.

    The offense has all the right people in place except for the mental midget under center. Get rid of him, not Marshall.

    Pace, Fox, Gase, and Fangio better have a damn good plan…

  34. I could see the right team wanting him for a low pick, like a sixth rounder. He is one season removed from a great season and a 7 million dollar commitment to a top wide receiver is not that much. Seattle and San Fran could both use him and a veteran, contending team would have the presence to handle his personality.

    I could see him getting $7 million guaranteed on the free agent market.

  35. Trade him or release him, it doesn’t matter. He will just continue the tradition of ex-Bears coming back to haunt the team down the road. However, if he ever wants to make it to his first playoff game, then he should probably play somewhere else anyway.

  36. I would like to see the author play on a bad ankle against the 49ers and catch TDs the way BMarsh did. His production fell because of QB and coaching incompetence (Cutler playing possibly his worst season as a Bear + horrible play calling by Trestman) and injuries. But I understand that now the stereotype is that Marshall is a bad guy and now even an unproductive wideout, and Trestman is a genius as OC. Good luck to the Ravens beyond 2015, and good luck to the Bears to find an equally good WR either in FA or through the draft.

  37. I’d still rather have Marshall than Greg Olsen and the 3rd pick the Bears gave up….no question, Olsen gets eaten up by the turf monster before he even gets hit by a defender!!!

  38. The analysis of his abilities in this article seems like it came from someone who is just reading his stat line for the year and not actually watching the actual games to put things into context. The Bears sucked as a whole team last season . . . and WR’s are probably the most dependent position in the league for generating stats. I think most objective people who watch the Bears play would say that Marshall is still an elite force at WR and if the Bears are serious about winning next year they’d be wise to keep him.

  39. hyzers says:
    Mar 5, 2015 3:31 PM
    It must really suck to be a Bear’s fan right now and for the foreseeable future. Did Cutler earn his starting job back yet?
    ========================================

    You must have forgotten to tell us which QB on the Bears roster or which free agent is even half as good.

    Please explain exactly who you think the Bears should be Bears starting QB.

  40. Honestly, looking back Josh McDaniels was doing the best things for the franchise long term in Denver but he paid the price.

  41. He still can play at a high level, but in my opinion his TV gig takes his total focus off of football and he will never be as good as he can be while doing that.
    Cutler and his age did not do him any favors either, but if he decides he will focus on just football, he will put up some big numbers again for a few more years.

    Excellent talent, but kind of a head case.

  42. I don’t buy the “skills are declining at the magic age of 30”. Everybody is different. He had a down year but I wouldn’t be shocked if he put up 1300yds this season. You can come to Buffalo, we wl bunk you with Richie Incognito at training camp

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