Heading into the 2010 offseason (and just about every offseason before that since the Marks Brothers were still playing), one of the biggest needs for the Miami Dolphins has been a true, play-making No. 1 receiver.
In a somewhat surprising move, the Dolphins have acquired such a player by landing troubled two-time Pro Bowler Brandon Marshall from the Denver Broncos.
In return, the Broncos will receive Miami's second-round pick in 2010 (43rd overall) as well as the team's second-round selection in 2011.
The acquisition comes just one day after Marshall signed his one-year tender offer from the Broncos as a restricted free agent—a required precursor for him to be traded.
Upon arriving in Miami on Wednesday and undergoing a physical to complete the deal, the Dolphins signed Marshall to a four-year, $47.5 million extension that is believed to be the biggest contract for a wide receiver in NFL history.
The deal, which runs through 2014, includes a $24 million in guaranteed money.
A Pro Bowl selection each of the past two seasons, Marshall was originally drafted by the Broncos in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL Draft out of the University of Central Florida.
In four pro seasons, Marshall (6-4, 230) has amassed 327 receptions, 4,019 receiving yards, and 25 touchdowns over 61 career games.
Things haven't always been well revolving around the Pro Bowl receiver, however, as Marshall's professional career has had quite its share of controversy.
In addition to a 2004 arrest for resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer while at UCF, Marshall was booked twice in 2007 for suspicion of domestic violence in July as well as DUI in October.
According to a 2008 article by the Rocky Mountain News, Denver police fielded roughly 11 calls to Marshall's home between 2006 and 2008.
Marshall was also a key person involved in the death of former Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams on New Year's Day 2007, as it was Marshall's altercations with other club patrons that led to the shooting.
When Marshall signed his tender with the Broncos yesterday, I wondered if any other teams would get involved and outbid his most likely suitor, the Seattle Seahawks.
Despite Miami's need for a big-time receiver—and Marshall obviously fits that bill—he is an object of Parcells' distaste for problem children.
In addition to his various legal issues, Marshall has also had attitude problems and clashes with Broncos management during his time in Denver.
Nevertheless, Marshall's talent is undeniable. He's a big, physical receiver with excellent hands, great run-after-catch skills, and the ability to stretch the field. He's also a quality run blocker, making him one of the most complete receivers in the National Football League.
Marshall's arrival could accelerate the departure of Ted Ginn, Jr., who has been disappointing since being drafted by the Dolphins ninth overall in 2007.
With reliable possession receivers Davone Bess and Greg Camarillo likely to stick around, in addition to surprisingly effective 2009 fourth-rounder Brian Hartline and unknown third-rounder Patrick Turner, Ginn does appear to be the odd man out in the Dolphins receiving corps.
It seems unlikely that the Dolphins will be able to get much in return for Ginn, however, and he might be better utilized in Miami as a situational deep threat and return man.
I am cautiously optimistic about Marshall's arrival. Chad Henne wanted and needed a player of Marshall's caliber, even naming him as a person of interest this offseason, but I also realize the potential pitfalls.
The Dolphins made a fairly significant investment in Marshall financially, as well as in terms of draft picks given up, and it's all for a guy that could be one mistake away from jail and/or a lengthy suspension by the NFL.
I'm not going to say the Dolphins made a bad move in acquiring Marshall, and given the improvements around the AFC East, something needed to happen in Miami to allow Henne to become an elite quarterback.
Still, I won't be ordering my Brandon Marshall jersey just yet, and I'll spend every day he's with the team hoping he can keep his head on straight. Given his track record, that's far from a certainty.
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