The Denver Broncos and coach Josh McDaniels are in the process of deciding if they should keep Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall, or ship him out just like they did to former quarterback Jay Cutler. Marshall’s talents are undeniable, his attitude on the other hand is undesirable. The Broncos can keep him and hope they can limit his out bursts while he looks for his fourth straight 100+ reception season.
The Broncos are maintaining that they want a first rounder in exchange for Marshall’s services. There are two factors that work against the Broncos here. First, teams are trying to hold on to their top picks due to the talent in this draft. Secondly, the trades for wide receivers in the last couple years have been confusing and down right weird. Let’s look at some of the big name wide receivers and what they got traded for.
2010—Santonio Holmes to the Jets for a 2010 5th round selection
2010—Anquan Boldin to the Ravens for 3rd and 4th round selections
2009—Braylon Edwards to the Jets for Chansi Stuckey, Jason Trusnik, and a 3rd and 5th round selection
2008—Roy Williams to the Cowboys for a 1st round selection in ’09, and 3rd and 6th round selections in ‘10
2007—Wes Welker to the Patriots for 2nd and 7th round selections in ’07
2006—Deion Branch to the Seahawks for 1st round selection in ’07
2005—Randy Moss traded to the Raiders for Napoleon Harris and 1st and 7th round selection in ‘05
Now when looking at these trades, you might be asking yourself a few questions. How did Holmes get traded for only a 5th round pick after being a Super Bowl MVP and having a career year? Are the Cowboys kicking themselves for giving up so much for Williams? How did the Patriots land Moss for a 4th rounder? Is Edwards just as good as Boldin? Why did the Patriots give up so much for a then punt returner and 3rd receiver Wes Welker (he had 96 catches in three years with the Dolphins and 112 in his first year with the Patriots)?
After looking at these trades the Broncos have one on thing they have on their side. Brandon Marshall is the best receiver of the ones that got traded (based on Moss’s time in Oakland and Welker’s stats in Miami before their time with the Patriots).
Yes, many of these receivers were dumped below market value. Holmes due to his suspension and legal problems, Boldin and his contract displeasure, Edwards for fighting with members of LBJ’s entourage, Branch for holding out for a better contract, and Moss for his antics in Minnesota and Oakland.
The Dolphins and Lions got lucky, because they happened to have attractive pieces. Jerry Jones needed a receiver to team up with Owens, and the Lions milked it for all they could, and the ‘Fins didn’t know what they had till the Patriots made them offer they couldn’t of imagined. So, is Marshall an attractive piece or a troubled malcontent?
The answer is both. Yes he has issues, but his stats tell a different story. None of the receivers had stats that could match Marshall’s at the time they were dealt. As it just so happens that there are two teams with multiple first round picks that could use Marshall’s services, the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers.
Both teams could use Marshall to create amazing mismatches for other teams. The Seahawks new coach, Pete Carroll could put him opposite T.J. Houshmandzadeh to help resurrect Matt Hasselbecks’ last years. Alex Smith could gain one more weapon if the 49ers added Marshall as he could team up with Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, and Frank Gore.
The only word of advice is that the Broncos should hold onto Marshall unless a deal comes along that either includes the 1st rounder they covet, or a deal that is seen as equal value for Marshall. Bronco fans will not accept losing two franchise players in successive off seasons with nothing to show.