In an unprecedented move for a rather conservative organization and shocking considering Miami's pursuit of Peyton Manning, the Chicago Bears agreed to swap a pair of third-round picks in exchange for Brandon Marshall with the 'Fins Tuesday, as first reported by Jay Glazer.
Upon hearing the news thousands of Bears fans probably choked on their Vienna beef.
The earth-shattering move instantly bolsters a receiving corps that performed miserably under the misguided direction of supposed "offensive genius" Mike Martz. Devin Hester, Johnny Knox and Sir Drops-a-Lot, Roy Williams, never developed into legitimate targets. Each showed flashes, but, by in large, they greatly hindered Jay Cutler's overall potential. Now reunited with Marshall, Cutler may finally make sweet vertical music in a rabid football town best known for its pound-the-pigskin and defensive mentality. Recall in 2008, the QB, while in Denver, posted his best fantasy season of his career chucking the rock in No. 15's general direction. That season, he threw for over 4,500 yards and connected on 27 touchdowns. His subsequent 22.4 fantasy points per game output tied Aaron Rodgers for second-best.
With Mike Tice now calling the offensive shots for the Monsters of the Midway, a more balanced approach, similar to last year, should be exhibited. Last season, Chicago passed roughly 48-percent of the time. The Bears are desperate to establish consistent production between-the-tackles, a part of the game they've struggled to achieve in recent years. Having Marshall, a legitimate field-stretcher, will definitely help in that endeavor. Matt Forte stands to benefit greatly. The rusher is a dependable top-five back deserving of a late first-round pick.
Cutler's value, obviously, is also on the rise. At this point, The Butcher should be categorized as a fringe QB1 in 12-team leagues, comparable in value to Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Schaub and Carson Palmer.
As for Marshall, the change of address offers some additional upside. Since he's the only show in town and due to his prior success with Cutler, it's conceivable he could flirt with double-digit scores, a plateau he hasn't reached since 2009. Still, his buttery hands, particularly inside the red-zone, remain an issue. If he can overcome the dropsies, he is very capable of exceeding expectation. Keep in mind in terms of yardage and PPR prowess, he's one of the league's steadiest producers. He's eclipsed 80 receptions and 1,000 yards in five consecutive years. Three of those seasons while Cutler's bosom buddy in Denver were quite spectacular (AVG: 102-1236-7).
Last year, Marshall finished as the No. 18 WR in per game average among wideouts. As a Monster of the Midway, he could again penetrate the position's top-10.
What's your take on Tuesday's stunning turn of events? Where would you rank Cutler, Marshall? What does this say about Peyton Manning's chances of landing in Miami? Discuss.
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