In a move that that should surprise no one, Denver Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall has reportedly requested a trade. The talented wide receiver, who stands to earn $2 million in 2009, has been unhappy with his contract situation and took his issue up with team owner Pat Bowlen in a meeting and then packed up and headed out of Denver.
Marshall is obviously a key component in the Denver offense and he brings prototypical wide receiver ability to the team’s passing game. Big, strong and fast, Marshall has the physical ability to be a Hall of Fame wide receiver. Unfortunately, for all his physical ability, he brings very little to the table in terms of maturity and his mental capacity.
Basically, Marshall is asking the Broncos to reward him with a long term contract extension with average salaries of $10 to $12 million per year despite the fact that he is coming off hip surgery in March and refused to perform his rehabilitation in Denver, despite his numerous run-ins with the law, despite his questionable character and decision-making skills, despite his receiving a one-game suspension in 2008, despite the fact he has outstanding legal issues that could result in another, more lengthy suspension.
Or the team can let him play this year for $2 million, see if he continues to produce and stay out of trouble and then enter into negotiations on a long-term deal near the end of the season knowing that Marshall will be a restricted free agent, provided 2010 is an uncapped year. In this situation, leverage exists solely with the team and not the player.
Marshall clearly does not understand the business side of the NFL or he is getting very poor advice from his agents and advisers or some combination of the two. Nonetheless, he is attempting to force the team’s hand knowing that they caved in to the demands of quarterback Jay Cutler and may be unwilling to enter the season with an unhappy star wide receiver in a holdout situation. Plus, by going public, he reduced the team’s ability to receive fair value in a trade.
Add it all up and it’s another in a long line of puzzling and questionable decisions or actions on Marshall’s part.
Fantasy Football Impact
Marshall is the most talented player in the Broncos offense so his availability and production impact every skill position player on the team. Eddie Royal is not likely to be nearly as productive if he receives extra attention from opposing defensive backs. Ditto for tight end Tony Scheffler. The team’s running backs will face more eight man fronts if Marshall isn’t in the line-up and quarterback Kyle Orton will lose his best security blanket and deep ball threat. The team signed wide receiver Brandon Lloyd to provide depth at wide receiver and ostensibly help replace Marshall if he holds out or is traded but he’s never reached his potential and never will.
As for Marshall, unless this situation is resolved peacefully before training camp and his hip proves to be unhealthy, he has become a much more risky player in fantasy leagues. Although he is extremely talented and has the potential to be a top five wide receiver even with Orton at quarterback, the question marks are beginning to add up. At this point, with contract issues, injury issues and quarterback issues, he ranks as a number two wide receiver but with a big upside. Buyer beware.