Editor's note: The story was updated to reflect the report that Brandon Marshall was accused of striking a woman during an incident in New York earlier this week.
As the NFL picked the first day of free agency to continue its glorification of wide receivers, the Chicago Bears on Tuesday pulled off what might have been the steal of the market by getting Brandon Marshall for two third-round draft picks.
[ Related: Brandon Marshall accused of punching woman ]
How desperate are teams for wideouts? Josh Morgan, who barely played last season (15 catches for 220 yards and one TD in five games) and has never had one 700-yard year in four seasons, got $12 million over two years. Or how about the fact that a 35-year-old, fading diva who didn't even play last season (Randy Moss, come on down) got a deal with a serious contender (San Francisco) on Monday.
By comparison, the Dolphins practically gave Marshall away. This is a guy who has five consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, including 1,214 yards last season. However, Marshall not only comes with the usual array of high-maintenance issues that many wide receivers possess, but he admittedly suffers from borderline personality disorder and continues to be accused of acts of violence – the latest incident being made public after the announcement of Tuesday's trade.
The hot rumor the past couple of days in Miami is that Manning didn't want to deal with Marshall, but a source close to Manning dismissed that Tuesday after the trade.
"Peyton isn't telling anybody how to run their team," the source said.
At least not yet.
Manning wouldn't have had a problem dealing with Marshall. Great quarterbacks don't have issues with receivers because the receivers know that great quarterbacks can make them better. A conversation between Manning and Marshall would probably go something like this:
Manning: "Hey Brandon, do you want the ball?"
Marshall: "Yeah, sure."
Manning: "Then do what I tell you to do."
[ Related: Brandon Marshall's impact on Peyton Manning chase ]
That's how it worked all those years in Indianapolis between Manning and Marvin Harrison, who quietly was one of the NFL's all-time divas. If Harrison didn't get the ball enough, he would sulk for all of about 10 seconds before Manning told him to cut it out.
Marshall and quarterback Jay Cutler have had great success before as a tandem. In back-to-back seasons in Denver, Marshall caught more than 100 passes for more than 1,200 yards while working with Cutler. Moreover, Marshall walks into Chicago as the most accomplished wide receiver the Bears have had since … well, maybe ever. The Bears' history at wideout features the likes of Willie Gault, Marty Booker and Bernard Berrian.
Marshall is the real deal even if he can sometimes be a real pain in the rear. Again, the great step that Marshall took this past season was to own his disorder. Generally, he was considered a good teammate by many in the locker room, including the likes of Jason Taylor, Reggie Bush and Mike Pouncey.
Marshall's recent stats are short on touchdowns; he had six this past season and three in 2010. If you consider the train wreck that has been the Dolphins' quarterback position for more than a decade, Marshall hasn't been all that bad. He did have some problems with drops at the beginning of last season, but got the issue corrected as the year wore on. Beyond that, drops had never been a big issue in the past.
[ Related: WR Marques Colston re-signs with Saints ]
Giving up two third-round picks for this kind of talent was a no-brainer for Chicago – prior to the revelation of Marshall's troubles in New York City.
As for Miami, if this team doesn't get Manning signed in the next day or so, the fan revolt against general manager Jeff Ireland and owner Stephen Ross will be all-out. The Dolphins already have lost their spot as Miami's No. 1 team, ceding that to the NBA's Heat. With only a few weeks left until baseball starts, this team could get passed by the Miami Marlins.
If nothing else, Ozzie Guillen will be more exciting than the Dolphins.
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- Brandon Marshall