Breaking Down Brandon Marshall for Colts


Yesterday, we noted that the Indianapolis Colts have reportedly made several trade inquiries to a handful of teams regarding their high-profile wide receivers including the Chicago Bears Brandon Marshall.

Dec 4, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) before their game against the Dallas Cowboys at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

The Colts are clearly in need of help at the wide receiver position, as both Reggie Wayne and Hakeem Nicks futures with the team are currently in limbo. Wayne is now mulling retirement, while it’s unclear whether the team is actually interested in bringing Hakeem Nicks back after an up-and-down debut season.

To be honest, Marshall would make a great deal of sense for the Colts. At 6’4″, 230 pounds, Marshall presents the type of big-bodied possession wideout that the Colts receiving corps has sorely been lacking in recent seasons. The 10-year veteran remains one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, coming off a season in which he caught 61 receptions for 721 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns despite shaky starting quarterback play from the Bears all season.

The Colts have never really had the type of imposing physical wideout that Marshall presents. Even in their heydays, Colts wide receiver greats like Marvin Harrison or Reggie Wayne weren’t the type of wideouts that a quarterback could throw up a jumpball to and necessarily expect to “Win that Matchup”, as he each was 6 foot and less than 200 pounds respectively (much less so in the former’s case).

Nov 27, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) before the Thanksgiving game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Only age 30, Marshall figures to have a handful of highly productive seasons still left in him. There’s serious questions of how committed the new Chicago Bears regime is to Marshall; however, as he’s due a $9.575 cap hit in 2015 with $7.5 million being guaranteed on March 12. The Bears could theoretically save $3.95 million before this date if they release Marshall, and $7.7 million if they designate him a post-June 1 cut.

There’s no doubt that Marshall was a troubled wide receiver in his 1st five seasons in the NFL with a wide array of legal issues, but he’s really settled down in recent seasons after being diagnosed with a personality disorder and learned to better handle himself both on and off the field. Still, any team that would acquire Marshall would still be getting a highly emotional player who can still be a bit of a loose cannon from time to time. The Colts figure to have enough strong veteran leadership to surround Brandon Marshall with however, especially with Andrew Luck starting to come into his own.

Marshall remains highly productive too, and it would provide the Colts with a lethal 1-2 punch with both T.Y. Hilton and himself atop the team’s wide receiver depth chart. According to ProFootballFocus (subscription), his +4.3 overall grade placed him just one spot behind the Detroit Lions Golden Tate at 26th overall among all wideouts, who enjoyed himself a breakout career season. One of the most underrated aspects of Marshall’s game is his run blocking, as he earned a +7.1 grade in this regard which was the 2nd best in the league at wideout.

Still, if the Colts are to acquire Brandon Marshall, it would likely not only require significant draft pick compensation, but he’s also one of the highest paid wide receivers in the NFL. With the team looking to make a Super Bowl push and in desperate need of a proven possession wideout, Marshall would make a great deal of sense for the Colts though and is worth paying the premium: