Brandon Marshall Sent Packing To The New York Jets

Brandon Marshall Sent Packing To The New York Jets
Wide receiver Brandon Marshall #15 of the Chicago Bears makes a catch against the New York Jets during a game at MetLife Stadium on September 22, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Just a day after the Bears were reportedly looking for trade partners for wide receiver Brandon Marshall, they sent the vetran to the New York Jets.

Aaron Leming of the Bear Report was the first to break the news Friday morning while NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport says the Bears will receive a fifth-round pick in return, pending a physical.

All trades become official next Tuesday at the start of the new year at 3 p.m. Moving Marshall frees up $3.95 million in salary cap space and $7.7 million cash.

Marshall was likely done with the Bears Thursday after reports broke of his departure from Chicago.

New general manager Ryan Pace clearly is making his presence felt in this first major move as the man in charge. Former general manager Phil Emery handed Marshall a three-year extension last off-season with one-year remaining on his deal. But now Pace has decided to pull the trigger on Marshall.

“We’re going to win a lot of games if every week football is our No. 1 priority,” Pace said at the NFL Combine.

In his three seasons with the Bears, Marshall ranked fourth in the league in catches and touchdown grabs. Marshall’s salary for the next two seasons is $7.9 million and $8.3, his 2015 base salary becomes guaranteed on March 12.

The Bears will have roughly $32 million in cap space by trading Marshall, according to CBS Sports analyst Dan Durkin.

Per NFL Media research, Marshall becomes just the fourth player to be traded three times since 1995, joining wide receiver Randy Moss, running back Glyn Milburn and quarterback Sage Rosenfels.

Marshall was traded following the 2009 season after a beef with Josh McDaniels and the Broncos staff. Then after two short years in Miami, Marshall was sent packing for two third-round picks to the Bears.

Just three years later and now Marshall is on his fourth team in 10 seasons.

Pace obviously saw Marshall as more of a problem than a solution. What Marshall did in 2014 off the field overshadowed all the good things he did the previous two seasons.

Marshall finishes fifth in Bears team history with 31 touchdown catches. The soon to be 31-year-old caught 279 passes for 3,524 in 45 starts with the Bears.

He had seven consecutive 1,000 yard receiving seasons prior to last season’s letdown. He hobbled his way to 61 receptions for 721 yards and eight touchdowns in 2014.

Marshall battled ankle injuries for a good portion of the year and suffered a collapsed lung and two fractured ribs in a Week 14 loss to Dallas. He caught just 57 percent of his targets.

Alshon Jeffery now becomes the Bears No. 1 receiver. He is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2016. Third-year man Marquess Wilson, kick returner/receiver Marc Mariani and Josh Bellamy round out the receiving core.

This has been noted as a deep draft for receivers and free agency is filled with plenty of solid options, so the Bears will find some playmakers through either one. They”ll have to now that Marshall’s departure leaves a big void at the position.

Marshall’s off the field and locker room issues plagued him with the Bears last season and with his previous two stints. It likely won’t get any easier for him in the New York spotlight catching passes from Geno Smith.

However, Marshall deserves a chance to showcase what he still has left. In my mind, he is a true No. 1 and the Bears could be taking a huge risk by simply ridding themselves of him.

It has yet to be seen if Jeffery is that true No. 1 like Marshall. He certainly benefited from Marshall’s presence which ultimately led to more one-on-one looks for him.

Jeffery started the team’s final three games of the season as the No. 1 with Marshall out and averaged only four catches per game after averaging over five receptions in the other 13 games.

Marshall reunites with Jets head coach Todd Bowles, who was an assistant coach in Miami (2010-11) when Marshall was there.

It will be hard to match Marshall’s production with just one player, but now Pace’s focus will be finding a veteran and most certainly some talented rookies to replace Marshall.

It still is a surprise to me that Pace wouldn’t give head coach John Fox a chance to coach Marshall. This is the same guy who had to deal with Steve Smith for so many years.

Pace is ultimately the decision maker and that is now very clear.

In other news, the Bears re-signed quarterback Jimmy Clausen to a one-year deal. Clausen completed 26 of 48 pass attempts for 223 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He appeared in four games, making a start in Week 16.

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