Will Chicago Bears really trade Brandon Marshall?

brandon-marshall-bears-2014It shouldn’t be any surprise that rumors have now surfaced regarding the Chicago Bears’ desire to trade Brandon Marshall. The outspoken receiver had his worst season since 2006 after catching 61 passes for 721 yards and eight touchdowns. Additionally, he missed three games, which is the first time in four seasons that he’s missed any time on the field.

Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune is the one who broke the news, citing that the Bears can’t actually move the 30-year-old star until 3:00pm next Tuesday. Here’s one excerpt from Biggs’ report:

One NFL source said the Bears are shopping Marshall with the idea of moving him. Another source said his belief is the team is taking calls in regard to Marshall. Trades cannot be finalized until 3 p.m. Tuesday.

The key date to keep in mind with Marshall is Thursday, March 12. That is when his base salary of $7.5 million for 2015 becomes fully guaranteed.

It’s not known what the Bears are seeking in exchange for Marshall, who will turn 31 at the end of the month, but it’s almost certainly less than the two third-round draft picks they sent to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for him in March 2012.

One source said the Bears potentially could move him for a mid-round pick. It’s unknown if the team would consider releasing Marshall instead of locking into the contract for the coming season.

brandon-marshall-bears-2It’s easy to see that there are no concrete reports that Chicago is indeed looking to move Marshall. The biggest issue here is the $7.5 million base salary, with a $200,000 bonus included just for showing up this season. Assuming Chicago were to get rid of Marshall, they’d save $3.95 million in cap space while owing him $5.625 million in dead money.

Another problem with Marshall is his fiery demeanor, which can serve as a distraction. He was overheard yelling at kicker Robbie Gould in the locker room after a loss to the Dolphins last year, challenged a Lions fan to a fight through Twitter, and separately challenged Lions center Dominic Raiola to a brawl. Also, in an interview last season, he discussed the team “having buyer’s remorse” in regard to Jay Cutler’s big contract. So the big question becomes, who’d be willing to take on Marshall’s contract along with the potential problems that come with it?

Multiple teams are in need of a talented receiver, and even at 30, Marshall would be an attractive proposition to any team with playoff aspirations. The Baltimore Ravens could be an especially likely destination because the Bears head coach last season, Marc Trestman, is now their offensive coordinator. Add in the fact that they’re losing Torrey Smith and they could really use a guy capable of putting up a 1,000-yard season.

Of course, there’s also the option of keeping Marshall on, seeing as how, when healthy, he can put up true number-one receiver numbers. And teaming him with Alshon Jeffrey would once again create a fearsome on-field duo. We should know more about the matter by early next week.

NFL Power Rankings for Week 14 (Dec. 5th, 2013)

peyton-manning-chiefsLast week was characterized by a couple of very high-profile matchups between the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs, as well as the Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints. The Broncos proved their dominance of the AFC West by beating their division rivals on the road by a score of 35-28. Kansas City is still a lock for the playoffs, but the illusion of their defensive dominance is now gone.

As for the Saints and Seahawks, this one wasn’t even close as Seattle throttled the visiting team. Most believe that the Saints are nearly invincible inside of the Superdome. But they appeared very mortal while playing at CenturyLink Field. Here’s a look at how last week’s featured games will shake up the Week 14 NFL power rankings.

1. Denver Broncos (10-2); beat Kansas City 35-28, retains same ranking – The margin between Seattle and Denver is slim. But it’s hard to bump Peyton and company out of the top spot when they just beat a playoff-bound Chiefs for the second time this season. Eric Decker had the game of his life after reeling in four of Manning’s five touchdown passes.

2. Seattle Seahawks (11-1); beat New Orleans 34-7, retains same ranking – So much for that bolstered New Orleans defense… Russell Wilson looked like a 10-year veteran the way he picked apart the Saints defense to the tune of 310 passing yards and three touchdowns. Oh yea, and Seattle’s defense was pretty good too as they shut down one of the best quarterbacks in the league.

3. New England Patriots (9-3); beat Houston 34-31, moves up two spots – The Pats got off to a slow start against Houston. But they once again staged a big comeback on the strength of Tom Brady’s 371 yards and two touchdowns. On a side note, Stevan Ridley’s days as New England’s starting running back appear over.

colin-kaepernick4. San Francisco 49ers (8-4); beat St. Louis 23-13, moves up two spots – San Francisco ended St. Louis’ hot streak and took a big step forward in the race for NFC playoff positioning. The Niners, who began the year trying to feature Colin Kaepernick’s talents more, seem to be getting back to this approach now that they’ve got some wins under their belt.

5. New Orleans Saints (9-3); lost to Seattle 34-7, drops two spots – The Saints didn’t suddenly become a bad team just because they got blown out by a fellow NFC powerhouse. However, this loss does raise some questions about New Orleans’ ability to win big games away from home.

6. Carolina Panthers (9-3); beat Tampa Bay 27-6, moves up one spot – Nobody predicted this week’s game against New Orleans to be a battle for first place in the NFC South. But that’s exactly where we’re at after Carolina won a franchise-record eighth straight game. Cam Newton is playing the best football of his three-year career, and just threw for 263 yards, ran for 68 yards, and accounted for three TD’s against the Buccaneers.

7. Kansas City Chiefs (9-3); lost to Denver 35-28, drops three spots – Alex Smith is really looking solid at QB after piling up 293 passing yards, 46 rushing yards, and three total TD’s. But what happened to that vaunted KC pass rush from earlier this year? Manning went virtually untouched for the second time these two teams faced.

8. Cincinnati Bengals (8-4); beat San Diego 17-10, moves up one spot – Holding the Chargers to 10 points at home is no small feat. The Bengals supplemented their great defensive effort with a strong running game (164 yards on 38 carries).

9. Indianapolis Colts (8-4); beat Tennessee Titans 22-14, moves up one spot – The Colts put a halt to their massive struggles with a hard-fought victory over Tennessee. Their lack of a running game is disturbing and the Trent Richardson deal is officially a dud. But they still have a little bit of time to fix these issues before the postseason.

demarco-murray10. Dallas Cowboys (7-5); beat Oakland 31-24, moves up one spot – Dallas used a surprisingly effective two-back approach, with Lance Dunbar rushing for 82 yards on 12 carries and DeMarco Murray gaining 63 yards on 19 carries. Murray also got into the end zone three times against the soft Oakland D.

11. Philadelphia Eagles (7-5); beat Arizona 24-21, moves up one spot – Philadelphia keeps pace with Dallas in the NFC West with a huge victory over Arizona. Is it time to anoint Nick Foles (237PYDS, 3TD) as one of the league’s top QB’s?

12. Detroit Lions (7-5); beat Green Bay 40-10, moves up one spot – The Lions absolutely terrorized Matt Flynn in the pocket and racked up seven sacks and a safety. Now, the challenge will be repeating this dominant performance against teams without Flynn under center.

13. Arizona Cardinals (7-5); lost to Philadelphia 24-21, drops five spots – The Cardinals don’t really deserve this free-fall after losing by three points on the road. But with everybody behind them winning and boasting a similar record, the margin for error is slim in this range.

14. Baltimore Ravens (6-6); beat Pittsburgh 22-20, moves up three spots – Like any true champion, the Ravens aren’t going down without a fight. They scraped by with five field goals, and dug in to stop a two-point conversion with 1:03 left.

15. Miami Dolphins (6-6); beat New York Jets 23-3, moves up three spots – You have to give Miami some credit for battling back to .500 with all of the controversy surrounding them. It now appears that they’re in a two-team race with Baltimore for the last AFC Wild Card spot.

adrian-peterson-rushing-record16. Chicago Bears (6-6); lost to Minnesota 23-20 (OT), drops two spots – Chicago blew a golden opportunity to keep pace with the Lions in the NFC North. Their defense once again got gashed by a running back, with Adrian Peterson rushing for 211 yards on 35 carries.

17. San Diego Chargers (5-7); lost to Cincinnati 17-10, drops two spots – After a dramatic 3-point victory at Kansas City last week, San Diego couldn’t keep the magic going at home against the Bengals. The offense was surprisingly ineffective, especially when they crossed the 50-yard-line, and failed to complete drive after drive.

18. Green Bay Packers (5-6-1); lost to Detroit 40-10, drops two spots – Aaron Rodgers may be back this week. But the Pack is also down one and a half games in the NFC North, which is probably too wide of a margin to make up.

19. New York Giants (5-7); beat Washington 24-17, moves up four spots – New York kept their slim postseason hopes alive thanks to four sacks from Justin Tucker. Andre Brown also added two touchdown runs, though he only gained 35 yards on 14 carries.

20. Tennessee Titans (5-7); lost to Indianapolis 22-14, retains same ranking – Although they lost, Tennessee is still just a game out of the AFC Wild Card race, and they hold all of the tiebreakers.

21. New York Jets (5-7); lost to Miami 23-3, drops two spots – New York is just playing terribly on offense right now. At least Rex Ryan finally had the nerve to bench Geno Smith after another awful outing (29PYDS, 1INT). Unfortunately, Matt Simms isn’t much better…

22. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-7); lost to Baltimore 22-20, drops one spot – Not only did Mike Tomlin earn himself a big fine for stepping in the way of a Jacoby Jones’ 73-yard kickoff return, but he also may have costed Pittsburgh a draft pick. Not exactly the best way to build for the future.

zac-stacy23. St. Louis Rams (5-7); lost to San Francisco 23-13, drops one spot – St. Louis fought hard on the road against a superior team. Zac Stacy turned in a tough game against this loaded defense as he rushed for 78 yards on 19 carries. He’s definitely a good building block for the future.

24. Minnesota Vikings (3-8-1); beat Chicago 23-20 (OT), moves up five spots – The teams from here on out are so bad that Minnesota leaps up five spots for grabbing a win against the Bears. Adrian Peterson finally looked like he did in the second half of last season, showing he has more than enough left in the tank.

25. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-9); beat Cleveland 32-28, moves up five spots – It’s finally time to consider the Jaguars a legitimate NFL team again. Chad Henne led a late comeback after finding Cecil Shorts in the end zone with 40 seconds remaining.

26. Cleveland Browns (4-8); lost to Jacksonville 32-28, drops two spots – As if it were possible, Cleveland is about to get a lot worse! Now both Jason Campbell and Brandon Weeden are hurt, leaving the Browns picking at the bottom of the barrel for a healthy QB.

27. Oakland Raiders (4-8); lost to Dallas 31-24, drops two spots – After some ups and downs this season, Oakland is having yet another bad season. Perhaps they’ve found a quarterback for next year in Matt McGloin, though.

28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-9); lost to Carolina 27-6, drops two spots – At this point, it’s very difficult to see Greg Schaino keeping his job. So Tampa Bay will essentially go back to the drawing board this offseason.

29. Atlanta Falcons (3-9); beat Buffalo 34-31 (OT), moves up two spots – Atlanta finally got the type of all-around offensive production they’ve been looking for, with Matt Ryan throwing for 311 yards and 1 TD, and Steven Jackson rushing for 84 yards and two touchdowns.

30. Buffalo Bills (4-8); lost to Atlanta 34-31 (OT), drops three spots – The good news is that CJ Spiller (149RYDS, 1TD) finally looked like the back that Buffalo was expecting this year. The bad news is that it comes when this team’s season has already gone down the drain.

31. Washington Redskins (3-9); lost to New York Giants 24-17, drops three spots – Washington has now been eliminated from the postseason in 17 of the last 21 years. After this season’s disappointment, some wonder if Mike Shanahan will be around in 2014.

32. Houston Texans (2-10); lost to New England 34-31, retains same ranking – Another close call for Houston, another loss. The Texans haven’t won since September 15th and it’s questionable if that will change before 2013 ends.

 

Terrell Owens eyes Bears, but can he still play in the NFL?

terrell-owens-bearsThe last time that Terrell Owens played an NFL game was for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2010 – a year in which he turned in a respectable 72 catches, 983 yards and 9 touchdowns. However, offseason knee surgery, age, and Owens’ typical antics ruined that one-year union.

Since then, the five-time All-Pro receiver has been on an odyssey that’s led him from the Indoor Football League’s Allen Wranglers to the Seattle Seahawks – none of which resulted in an NFL regular season roster spot. But even at the age of 39, Owens hasn’t given up on his NFL dreams and is hoping that the Chicago Bears will give him a shot.

One big reason why T.O. seems fixated on the Bears is because of their new head coach, Marc Trestman. While Owens was a rookie with the San Francisco 49ers in 1996, Trestman was the Niners offensive coordinator. Of course, he admits that it’s been a long time since the two have spoken.

Trestman isn’t the only person who has T.O. thinking he can suit up for the Bears. While participating in a McLegends charity basketball event in Chicago, Owens worked out with former NFL linebacker Napoleon Harris. After their workout and a lengthy conversation, Owens came out feeling like he’d be a good fit for the Bears. He said, “To think about (Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall) on the other side and me on one side, that’s really dangerous. I’m keeping myself in shape just for any opportunity that may come about.”

The Marshall-Owens combination might be really dangerous for more reasons than just on-field production. Pretty much everywhere T.O. goes turns into a circus at some point in the season. Sure there’s always talk about how this year is going to be different and he’ll blend in with teammates and coaches. But every time, it’s the same thing – clashes with teammates, blasting coaches through the media, and several off-field antics.

As for the Marc Trestman connection, well the former Montreal Alouettes coach last worked with Owens 17 years ago. Furthermore, it’s difficult to see the first-time NFL head coach wanting to take the Owens challenge in his initial season. This is especially the case with all the pressure there is to make the playoffs in 2013.

Of course, the latter is also a reason to give T.O. a look because, even at the age of 39, he’s still believed to have plenty of ability. He’s only two years removed from leading the Bengals in receiving yards and kept sharp with the Wranglers and Seahawks (preseason) over the past two years.

Harris attested to Owens’ athletic ability by telling SportsNet, “The guy was a great player and he is in tremendous physical shape. We worked out this morning and after we ran five miles, he did sprints and lifted and he looks great. The Bears would be smart to give him an opportunity. He is motivated and ready to play.”

It’s not hard to believe that Terrell Owens is motivated and ready to play. However, the question is if he’ll be ready to mesh with teammates and listen to the coaching staff.

NFL Power Rankings for Nov. 29th, 2012

One thing that we’ve been preaching about with the Houston Texans all year is how good they could be if Matt Schaub came alive. And the 31-year-old QB has done just that after throwing for 842 yards and six touchdowns in the last two games. He’s a big reason why the Texas are now firmly-entrenched as our number one team. As for where all the other top teams rank, check out this week’s NFL power rankings.

1. Houston Texans (10-1) – With Arian Foster heading a strong running attack, Andre Johnson showing a late-season burst, and Schaub getting unhinged, the Texas offense is finally looking as good as the defense. Houston gives the AFC a strong chance to end the NFC’s reign atop the league.

Last Game: 34-31 (OT) win over Detroit
Next Game: at Tennessee Titans

2. Atlanta Falcons (10-1) – For most of the season, Atlanta has headed our power rankings. However, the recent struggles by Matt Ryan – who has thrown six picks in the past two games – are somewhat alarming. It looks like Jacquizz Rodgers is finally overtaking Michael Turner in the Falcons’ backfield. Could make for an interesting twist in the offense moving forward.

Last Game: 24-23 win over Tampa Bay
Next Game: vs. New Orleans Saints

3. New England Patriots (8-3) – Is this the same team that lost a home game to the Arizona Cardinals earlier this year? Sure doesn’t look like it as Brady is dominating (like usual), and the Pats have two strong running backs in Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley. The defense has done a solid job at forcing turnovers too.

Last Game: 49-19 win over New York Jets
Next Game: at Miami Dolphins

4. San Francisco 49ers (8-2) – With Colin Kaepernick now named the starter for the second week in a row, it looks like he’s officially replaced a now-healthy Alex Smith at quarterback. He has just as good of an arm as Smith – if not better – along with decidedly-faster wheels.

Last Game: 31-21 win over New Orleans
Next Game: at St. Louis Rams

5. Baltimore Ravens (9-2) – Despite a number of key injuries on defense, the Ravens continue to find ways to win. Last week was a perfect example as Baltimore was down 13-10 and facing 4th-and-29 with under two minutes left in regulation. Joe Flacco found Ray Rice for a short pass, which Rice turned into a 29-yard play. Justin Tucker’s following field goal sent the game into overtime, where the Ravens pulled out the victory.

Last Game: 16-13 (OT) win over Cleveland
Next Game: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

6. Chicago Bears (8-3) – After an incredible start, the Bears hit a stumbling block after losing in Week 10 and 11. However, they were able to right the ship after a big win over division rival Minnesota. But with RB Matt Forte out with an injury now, things won’t get easier for Chicago. Much like he did in Oakland, Michael Bush will now be carrying the running workload thanks to the starter being out.

Last Game: 28-10 win over Minnesota
Next Game: vs. Seattle Seahawks

7. Denver Broncos (8-3) – Despite facing one of the league’s toughest early season schedules, the Broncos have looked fantastic. Peyton Manning is his old self while both Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker have become star receivers.

Last Game: 17-9 win over Kansas City
Next Game: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

8. New York Giants (7-4) – It wouldn’t be at all surprising to see the Giants in the Super Bowl again this year – especially after what they did to Aaron Rdogers and the Packers last week. Rodgers had absolutely no time to throw thanks to a terrorizing New York pass rush. Depending on which Giants show up in the playoffs, they could make another big run.

Last Game: 38-17 win over Green Bay
Next Game: at Washington Redskins

9. Green Bay Packers (7-4) – While we want to rank the Pack lower after last game, it’s important to realize that it’s just one week. Before facing the Giants, Green Bay was rolling along on a hot streak. We still expect to see them fighting the Bears for the NFC North title moving forward.

Last Game: 38-10 loss to New York Giants
Next Game: vs. Minnesota Vikings

10. Indianapolis Colts (7-4) – The Colts make their first appearance in our top 10 after winning five out of their last six games. Can Indianapolis really run with the league’s best teams? The jury is out on this after a 59-24 loss to the Patriots two weeks ago, but they are still playing like a playoff-caliber team overall.