Should Denver try to trade him? It's unlikely they would get a first and third (what Dallas essentially sent to Detroit for Roy E. Williams last year; Dallas also gave up a sixth and got back a seventh). Marshall's history of legal troubles, his recent hip surgery, and his request for a huge payday likely reduced his trade value. Then again, some think Denver might be smart to get whatever they can right now for Marshall, if for no reason other than to end the distractions and jettison the only remaining vocal "me-first" guy on the roster.
Everyone agrees that the Broncos hold all the cards, and it would certainly be in Marshall's best interest to shut up, learn the playbook, and show everyone around the NFL why he deserves a contract similar to the one Roddy White just signed, which is for six years and $50 million, with $18.6 million guaranteed. That is a lot of dough, though, and as an organization you better be very confident in the individual you sign to that kind of deal. They're the kind of deals that, if they don't pan out, severely handicap teams for several years afterward.
I don't think the Broncos brass has it in their plans to give Marshall that kind of cash, and a big reason why is Eddie Royal. Marshall hasn't exactly proven himself to be a trustworthy person. And with the NFL salary cap there is only so much money to spread around on any particular team. Eddie Royal, by contrast, has demonstrated nothing but class and professionalism, and he's arguably a better football player to boot. If you have to choose one of them to sign to a long-term, big-money deal and send the other one packing, who would you pick?
Royal signed a four-year deal as a rookie. We all know the kind of numbers he put up his rookie year. He's fast (4.39 forty), elusive (did you see that 90-degree cut at full speed on the screen pass in the San Francisco preseason game?), and strong (he led all WR in his draft class for bench press reps, despite his somewhat small(ish) size).
Champ Bailey was recently asked if Royal reminds him of Wes Welker. Bailey replied that Royal reminds him more of Steve Smith. Steve Smith of the Panthers, not the Steve Smith of the Giants. The former is the second highest paid WR in the league, and we all know what he's capable of after the whooping he put on the Broncos last year.
Royal appears to be a centerpiece of McDaniels' offensive plans this year. I think he's going to be a nightmare for opposing defenses. If he has a huge year this year, the Broncos will want to re-sign him sometime during or right after the 2010 season.
They likely wouldn't have the cash to do so if they give Marshall a multi-year, big-money contract right now.
To me it's a no-brainer for the Broncos management: you go with Royal. I think they're thinking like Champ and believe Royal can be a Steve Smith type of player, while Brandon Marshall could end up being a giant waste of talent.
If you had to pick one, who would you take?