It 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.
It’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.