Chicago Bears Reportedly Exploring Trades for Brandon Marshall


According to Brad Biggs of The Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Bears are exploring trade options for their talented, yet somewhat tumultuous wideout in Brandon Marshall:

"“One NFL source said the Bears are shopping Marshall with the idea of moving him. Another source said his belief is the team is taking calls in regard to Marshall. Trades cannot be finalized until 3 p.m. Tuesday.The key date to keep in mind with Marshall is Thursday, March 12. That is when his base salary of $7.5 million for 2015 becomes fully guaranteedIt’s not known what the Bears are seeking in exchange for Marshall, who will turn 31 at the end of the month, but it’s almost certainly less than the two third-round draft picks they sent to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for him in March 2012.”"

Of course, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report, the Indianapolis Colts have already placed trade inquiries on Brandon Marshall and are a serious suitor. We noted previously that the Colts have looked at a handful of veteran wide receivers including Mike Wallace and Vincent Jackson.

Oct 19, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) catches a pass against the Miami Dolphins in the second half of their game at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

In fact, just recently, it’s been reported that the Colts have serious interest in veteran wideout Andre Johnson and may be willing to pay him as much as $10 million annually once he’s released by the Texans and hits the open market. However, Marshall with a $9.575 cap hit and as a superior player at this point in their respective careers appears to be the better option.

Despite having played 10 seasons in the NFL, Marshall is still only 30 years old. He’s coming off a season in which he caught 61 receptions for 721 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns despite shaky starting quarterback play with the Bears. It’s worth noting that while he did miss 3 games last season because of fractured ribs/collapsed lung, he’s otherwise been an ironman, having only missed 3 games in the past 4 regular seasons.

At 6’4, 230 pounds, Marshall is an imposing physical wideout, and the type of wide receiver that the Colts haven’t really ever had in the team’s history. Even as good as former wide receiver greats like Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne were, a quarterback couldn’t just toss up a jumpball and say, “Go get it”. With T.Y. Hilton as the team’s diminutive, yet dangerous deep threat, the team could use a proven big bodied wide receiver to further compliment him.

Earlier, we broke down Marshall for the Colts, and we noted that he makes a great deal of sense for the team, barring the draft compensation requested for him is within reason. Even the advanced grades provided by ProFootballFocus (subscription) show that he’s still a highly productive wideout:

"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."

If the alternative is Andre Johnson, consider me as one who’d much rather have Marshall. He’s 3 years younger and is the better player at this point in their respective careers, especially if Johnson is looking for $10 million annually on the open market. With the Colts already linked to Suh and having kicked the tires previously on Marshall, the team could be adding some serious star power this offseason.