Point/CounterPoint: The Brandon Marshall Trade
Bears Perspective: Close the Door on Your Way Out
On Friday, the Chicago Bears traded Brandon Marshall to the New York Jets for a 5th round draft pick. Early on, the details were not known, but when it was announced that Marshall was leaving, a resounding cheer could be heard from Chicago. Marshall is the NFL version of owning a boat: The 2nd best day is when you buy it, the best day is when you sell it.
Chicago fans would like to thank the national media for hyping up Marshall’s numbers, but not being concerned with his actions. Focusing all of their anger and disgust on Jay Cutler, allowed Marshall to be described as “gritty, a competitor and the Bears best player.” This narrative could not be farther from the truth. Let’s just highlight Marshall’s action during the 2014 season:
- Held a non-sanctioned 45 minute press conference in response to the stories re-emerging of his domestic violence issues years ago. The discussion centered around him, the progression he has made and not on the real issues. It was viewed by local media as a joke and PR fail
- Traveled to New York every Tuesday for Showtime’s “Inside the NFL” show, demonstrating football is not a priority. Moreover, Marshall has openly stated that winning a Super Bowl is not a priority
- Angered teammates with a locker room tirade after a loss to the Miami Dolphins. This included having Lance Briggs walk out and trying to fight Robbie Gould, the Bears’ kicker
- Challenged a Detroit Lions fan to a fight on Twitter
- Almost fought with an assistant coach for not wearing the proper practice uniform
- Ripped quarterback Jay Cutler on the radio, with the infamous and overplayed, “I can understand that as far as a businessman; I would have buyer’s remorse, too.” An unwritten rule in the NFL is to never question a teammate’s contract
Not to mention he is getting older and has faced multiple injuries that have limited his production or forced him to miss games. When you are a big receiver that enjoys fighting for the football, your body will wear down. The issue is that one can go from being highly productive to very limited in a short time in the NFL.
When George McCaskey and Ted Phillips hired Ryan Pace as General Manager, they told him that they wanted Marshall to be gone, but since it was now his team, Pace would get the final say. Pace and John Fox met with former coaches and current teammates about Marshall and not one of them supported him as a person or a figure they wanted in the locker room. However, Brandon Marshall sealed his own fate…
In January, Pace and Fox met with Marshall for about an hour at Halas Hall to discuss Marshall’s commitment to football and the Inside the NFL show. They told him, and repeated it at the NFL Combine, that “Football should be the number 1 priority for all players on the Bears.” Pace and Fox told Marshall he would not be able to continue to do the show, if he wanted to remain a Bear. Marshall was not happy about this and instead of thinking through what was said to him, he immediately called a press conference to discuss what happened during their meeting and state he was still going to do the show. Before the Super Bowl and during an interview with John Harbaugh of the Ravens, Marshall asked if Harbaugh would allow him to continue to do Inside the NFL.
The Bears had enough. It was time to trade or cut Marshall by March 12th. Amazingly, the Jets were more than willing to take Marshall for a 5th round pick. The fact the Bears got rid of Marshall is a win, but getting a pick for him is like winning the Powerball. Most Bears fans feel that the Jets are the true version of “out of town stupid,” and while citing Marshall’s number and prior relationship with Head Coach Todd Bowles, they seem to ignore the personal issues.
Jets fans should remember these numbers: 4 and 0, reflecting the number of NFL teams Marshall has played for and the amount of times those teams have been to the playoffs. But don’t worry, Marshall will call a press conference to explain that too, because ultimately, what is good for Brandon Marshall is good for the team.