Chicago Bears trade WR Brandon Marshall to the New York Jets

Trade for Jets: The Jets surrendered a 5th round pick for Brandon Marshall in this deal, much like they surrendered a 6th round pick mid-season to the Seahawks for Percy Harvin. Marshall is older than Harvin, going into his age 31 season, but I think this is a much better deal than the Harvin deal. Related, this deal allowed the Jets to release Percy Harvin and avoid paying him a 10.5 million dollar salary in 2015. All in all, the Jets paid 7.2 million and a 6th round pick for Harvin and got 29 catches, 20 kickoff returns, and 22 carries in a lost season, overall a head-scratching move by the Jets.

Back to Marshall, he’s coming off of a down season, catching 61 passes for 721 yards and 8 touchdowns. The catches and yards were both his lowest since his rookie year. He was limited by an ankle injury all season and missed the final 3 games of the season after suffering a collapsed lung in a game. However, Marshall had missed a combined 4 games in his previous 7 seasons and, even going into his age 31 season, he should be able to bounce back for at least two more good seasons. In addition to being incredibly durable prior to 2014, he was also incredibly consistent, catching at least 80 passes for 1000 yards in 8 straight seasons, including 5 seasons of 100+ catches and 1200+ yards. Even with the down year last year, he’s graded out above average in 7 of 8 seasons, including 8th in 2012, and 1st in 2013. The 7.7 million they’ll pay him in 2015 is pretty reasonable for him and his 8.1 million dollar salary for 2016 is non-guaranteed.

Grade: A-

Trade for Bears: The Bears’ new regime seemed pretty determined to move on from Marshall over the past week so in that sense credit them for getting a 5th round pick for him. The question I have is why they were so willing to get rid of him. Sure, he’s going into his age 31 season and coming off a down year, but, as I illustrated above, he should be able to bounce back and his scheduled salary for 2015 wasn’t much. Marshall has been notorious for not always being liked by his coaches and teammates and suffers from borderline personality disorder so that might have played a role in his departure, but he’s still a good football player with good football left in him. This move leaves the Bears with not only a huge hole opposite Alshon Jeffery at wide receiver, but they also still need help at the #3 wide receiver spot as Marquess Wilson is still incredibly unproven, with 462 snaps played in 2 years since the Bears drafted him in the 7th round in 2013. I don’t understand this move by them.

Grade: C

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