Why The Jets Should Avoid Brandon Marshall

Steve ClarkeContributor IMarch 31, 2010

PHILADELPHIA - DECEMBER 27:  Brandon Marshall #15 of the Denver Broncos runs the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles on December 27, 2009 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Broncos 30-27.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Ever since Mark Sanchez called Brandon Marshall to wish him a happy birthday, the rumors of the Jets’ interest in Marshall seem to be heating up again. There’s no doubt that Brandon Marshall is a top five wide receiver in the league. He is extremely talented, demands double teams, and is one of the most productive receivers in the league each season. However, there are a few reasons why the Jets should pass on any potential trade involving Marshall.

Reason 1- Contract Issues

Fans that are in favor of making a move for Brandon Marshall often say something along the lines of, “Imagine a receiving corps of Brandon Marshall, Braylon Edwards, and Jerricho Cotchery. This would help out Mark Sanchez’s development and give us a dangerous offense.” I can’t say that I disagree with that argument, but with the talent upgrade comes an even bigger cost. Right now, Brandon Marshall is a restricted free agent, which means that if the Jets were to trade for him before the RFA deadline, the Jets would have to give Marshall a new deal. Here is a press release issued by Marshall’s public relations firm just a few days ago:

EAG PR Firm.

Brandon Marshall is continuing to work out and progress this offseason, and is hopeful that wherever he lands that it will be the right place. Additionally, if it were true that a contract extension commensurate with Marshall’s skills was actually offered, there would be no question as to what team Marshall would be staying with at this time.

It does not look like Brandon Marshall will be happy until he gets a huge contract. He is probably looking for something around $10 million per year, mostly in guarantees. From a purely financial standpoint, signing one player to a big contract is usually not a problem for most teams. However, the Jets have been spending a lot of money in recent offseasons and will have several players approaching free agent status soon. Take a look at some of the players that have contracts expiring soon:

  • Braylon Edwards- Free Agent after 2010 season
  • Shaun Ellis- Free Agent after 2010 season
  • Nick Mangold- Free Agent after 2010 season
  • Leon Washington- Free Agent after 2010 season
  • David Harris- Restricted Free Agent after 2010 season
  • Antonio Cromartie- Restricted Free Agent after 2010 season
  • Brad Smith- Free Agent after 2010 season
  • Eric Smith- Free Agent after 2010 season
  • Darrelle Revis- Free Agent after 2010* season (The Jets can pay an option to keep Revis through 2012- but the 6th year will most likely cost $15 million anyway)
  • D’Brickashaw Ferguson- Free Agent after 2011 season


Players like D’Brick, Harris, Mangold, Edwards, and Cromartie will require big money contracts, and Revis will probably become the highest paid defensive player in NFL history. Adding a player with Marshall’s salary will almost certainly mean that a few big name players from the above list would not be resigned. I know this is an uncapped year, but there is no telling if and when a salary cap will come back. Also, by letting go of Thomas Jones, the Jets have shown that they are being more cautious with their spending.

You also have to consider the possibility of how bringing in a new guy like Marshall with a big, shiny contract will affect the other players on the team. Nick Mangold has talked about wanting a new deal from the Jets, but the Jets have yet to approach him with any contract talks. Would guys like Mangold and Revis be upset that the Jets gave big money to a new player before they took care of their own?

Reason 2- Locker Room Cancer

Last off-season, Brandon Marshall was upset with his contract and demanded a trade. During team practices, Marshall refused to run in team drills, punted footballs across the field, and purposely batted down passes. Marshall also stayed out of team drills because he did not know the playbook. All of this was captured on video during a Broncos practice and can be viewed here .

After being warned that his actions would result in a suspension, Marshall continued with his poor behavior on the practice field and in the locker room. Head Coach Josh McDaniels decided to suspend Marshall from August 27 through September 5.  Here’s what McDaniels had to say about the suspension:

His actions didn’t really change after that warning. That leads us to today. We tried to handle this situation with Brandon as privately and professionally as we could throughout the entire process with he and his agent, Kennard McGuire. This morning, we made the decision as an organization to go ahead and suspend Brandon and that suspension will last through Sept. 5.

Marshall’s poor behavior not only upset the coaches, but his teammates were also getting tired of him. Here’s what fellow Bronco receiver Brandon Stokley had to say when asked if he was surprised with Marshall’s suspension:

Not really, not with his attitude and how he was acting. Something had to be done. They made the decision. We’re moving on, and hopefully in a few weeks, when he’s back, he’ll be ready to contribute.

Once the suspension ended and the 2009 season began, Marshall seemed to get his act together. Marshall and coach McDaniels were even seen hugging during a press conference after a game. Many people, including myself, thought that the Marshall charades were over and he was finally starting to mature. However, towards the end of the season the Broncos went through a losing streak and their playoff hopes were diminishing.

The Broncos had a “do or die” game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Before this game, McDaniels and Marshall got into some sort of disagreement and the coach decided to bench his star player for the game. Marshall said that he had hurt his hamstring during the week, but McDaniels said that the injury was not serious:

There’s a lot of players that play with things that are more difficult to play with than what he has. It will be a coaching decision. There’s a number of factors that go into that.

Some people will argue that McDaniels shouldn’t have benched Marshall for such an important game, especially since the Broncos lost. However, McDaniels must have had a good reason to bench his best offensive player with the playoffs on the line. There have been rumors that Marshall’s own teammates requested that he should be benched for the game. Take it for what it’s worth, but the fact is that Marshall was benched for his team’s most important game in the 2009 season.

Reason 3- Marshall would not be utilized well in Rex Ryan’s run heavy offense

It’s no secret that the Jets did not have a great passing game last season, but it’s not because they lacked talented receivers. The two main reasons why the Jets’ passing game was towards the bottom of the league last year were because the Jets are a run first team and were starting a rookie quarterback. Rex Ryan has already said that he plans on opening up the offense more next season, but the Jets will still be a run heavy team. Expect to see Sanchez throw the ball around 24-28 times a game next season.

Marshall is considered a “me first” player and will probably cause problems if he doesn’t get a lot of catches, or if Sanchez has a bad game. There simply isn’t enough passes to go around to keep Marshall, Edwards, and J-Co happy in a “ground and pound” offense.

Make no mistake, the Jets do need to add a receiver to the team, but their need is a slot receiver.  The Jets need a receiver to go over the middle and make those tough catches on third down. They need a guy like Wayne Chrebet or Wes Welker. Golden Tate would be a perfect fit for the Jets offense if he is available late in the first round. Other possible targets in the draft are Demaryius Thomas, Jordan Shipley, Jacoby Ford, and Dexter McCluster.

Bottom Line:

Brandon Marshall is a high-risk, high-reward player. He is a proven wide-out and is one of the most productive receivers each year in the NFL. Marshall will also demand an incredibly high contract and has been known to cause problems in the locker room.  Rex Ryan always talks about how close the guys in the Jets’ locker room are and I’m concerned that bringing in a guy like Marshall could tear that chemistry apart.

The Jets are a run first team and there simply wouldn’t be enough passes to go around for Marshall, Edwards, Cotchery, and Keller. To be paying yearly salaries of $10 million to Marshall, $6 million to Edwards, and $2 million to J-Co in a “ground and pound” offense doesn’t make sense with so many Jets players approaching free agency.

Adding Marshall would almost certainly mean the end of Braylon Edwards in green and white, a player we just gave up two players and two picks for, and has only started 12 regular season games for us. A lot of people think that next year will be the Jets' peak year, but in reality, that is just not the case. If Mark Sanchez is the QB that the fans and coaches think he is, then the peak of this team will be two or three years down the road.

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