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Trading Brandon Marshall Away Is the Only Option Left for Denver

OAKLANDRAIDERCorrespondent IJune 17, 2009

In one of the worst offseasons in Denver Broncos history, devastating news continues to break with Pro Bowl star WR Brandon Marshall requesting a trade. For the Denver Broncos, their only option left is to meet Marshall's demands and place him on the open trade market.

The more time this story goes on, the worse it makes the Denver Broncos look. The franchise has become a laughingstock, as they are on the verge of trading away two young, talented, Pro Bowl players in one offseason.

The reason why Marshall is demanding a trade in his final year of his four-year rookie contract is very simple. This is Marshall's last chance to cash out for big money and a long-term deal.

If Marshall doesn't get the extension now and was to play the final year of his rookie contract, in 2010 he would become a restricted free agent. In that case, all Denver would have to do is franchise tag him, meaning Marshall wouldn't get the security of a long-term deal nor the guaranteed money.

Marshall is considered around the NFL to be a top 10 WR in this league, yet there are 50 current NFL WRs who make more than Marshall's $2 million per year.

Marshall would like to be paid the same as top WRs make in this league.

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Think about this: In 2008 the Buffalo Bills signed Lee Evans to a four-year, $37.25 million dollar contract with $18.25 million guaranteed. Evans became the third highest paid WR in the NFL behind Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Smith.

Lets compare the four players' stats for the last two seasons.

Fitzgerald

2008: 96 catches, 1,431 yards, 12 TD

2007: 100 catches, 1,409 yards, 10 TD

Smith

2008: 78 catches, 1,421 yards, 6 TD

2007: 87 catches, 1,002 yards, 7 TD

Evans

2008: 63 catches, 1,017 yards, 3 TD

2007: 55 catches, 849 yards, 5 TD

Marshall

2008: 104 catches, 1,265 yards, 6 TD

2007: 102 catches, 1,325 yards, 7 TD

As you can clearly see, Marshall's numbers for the last two seasons are as good as any WR in the NFL, yet he doesn't make anywhere close to the other top WRs.

If I were Marshall, there is no way I would play this upcoming season for $2 million. I would hold out and demand a trade.

There is a great chance that if Marshall comes back for this upcoming season, his numbers will drop, meaning his value would as well in terms of getting a long-term deal. Kyle Orton isn't Jay Cutler, and the Broncos offense will be much different this season: new plays, new terms, new players, new everything.

Broncos fans are calling Brandon Marshall a baby and stupid for missing the mandatory mini-camps and OTAs because he is getting fined by Denver. This is the same ordeal that was going on with Cutler, as he was getting fined as well.

By Marshall going to the camps and playing and not holding out, he is losing on his last chance to gain a long-term deal and being paid as a top five WR in the NFL.

Well, you might ask, why wouldn't the Broncos want to give Marshall a long-term extension and pay him millions of dollars to keep him in Denver?

Two words:

Risk and Gamble.

If Lee Evans was able to get a contract worth $37 million over four years, then how much do you think Brandon Marshall should get?

When things were going good for Terrell Owens in Dallas, Owens was able to get a contract worth $34 million for four years. Fast-forward one year later, and the Cowboys cut Owens, only to now see him playing in Buffalo under a one-year contact worth around $7 million. Risk and Gamble.

Marshall wants a three- to four-year deal worth $30-40 million. He feels his on-field performance should get him that type of deal, and really, if he doesn't go for it now he won't get it in the future.

Why wouldn't the Broncos want to do anything in their power to keep Marshall no matter what the cost?

There are many reasons why the Broncos won't give him that new contact. Let's take a look at these five.

1. The Broncos want to milk every penny out of Marshall and force him to play for $2 million this season, and then next season talk about it.

2. The Broncos would like to see if he still is a top 10 WR in the NFL without Cutler and in Josh McDaniels' new system.

3. Look at past players who signed large long-term deals (Michael Vick, Terrell Owens, Alex Smith...THE LIST GOES ON AND ON).

4. Marshall had offseason surgery on his hip and still is trying to rehab, so it's not 100 percent certain he will be back at his Pro Bowl level.

5. The final and most important reason: Marshall's track record with the law in the last three years as a Bronco.

* Has been ordered to get anger management counseling in exchange for having false imprisonment and domestic violence charges dropped.

* Has been sentenced to a year of probation after avoiding a likely DUI conviction by entering a guilty plea to driving while ability-impaired (after being pulled over with a reported blood-alcohol level of 0.116 in a state where the legal limit is 0.08).

* Still has two counts of simple battery charges pending due to alleged violence against former girlfriend Rasheedah Watley.

* Was suspended by the league for three games in 2008 (which was later reduced to one game after he complied with league requirements that included more counseling).

* Was arrested in March along with Michi Nogami-Campbell—just weeks after they were engaged—by an off-duty police officer who reportedly saw the pair hitting and kicking each other in public.

Really, there are no more options. The Denver Broncos franchise has taken many bad PR hits this year. If Marshall was to screw up again with the law, it would only lower his trade value. Broncos fans would just have to sit and wonder how in one offseason they lost their two best offensive players.

This is not the start new head coach Josh McDaniels wanted to get off to, but it is what it is.

What team is willing to give Brandon Marshall a long-term deal? When Marshall is one mess-up with the law from being suspended eight games, plus you add a bad hip, cuts on his arm, and the fact that his legal issues aren't even behind him.

All in all, it spells a big headache for the Broncos, with the only option left to get rid of this guy. However, Denver won't get anywhere near equal value.

Brandon Marshall doesn't want to be a Bronco anymore.

The Broncos are in a very tough spot.

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