The New York Jets believe they acquired a star when they traded for wide receiver Brandon Marshall. He is an instant upgrade for a unit that was ranked as one of the worst in the NFL. Formerly of the Chicago Bears, where he caught passes from quarterback Jay Cutler, Marshall will now become the number receiver for QB Geno Smith.
There is a considerable talent drop-off from Cutler to Smith. Jay Cutler has struggled to capitalize on his top-10 ability in nine NFL seasons; Geno Smith has failed to impress in two years. The latter will most likely be pushed into a competition at the quarterback position with either a veteran or whichever rookie who falls to them in April’s draft – Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota. Whoever is throwing passes for the Jets, their skills will be upgraded just with the mere presence of Brandon Marshall lining up against the opposition.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) March 6, 2015
Marshall, a former controversial player who has turned his life around, leaves the big stage of Chicago and lands on a larger stage in New York. It was a low-risk move that, on paper, will only cost the Jets a fifth round pick, according to the New York Times.
Some people will say that he is not worth the risk, especially fans in Chicago. He was labeled as a distraction in the locker room. One of his transgressions, per ESPN Chicago, was playfully challenging a Detroit Lions’ fan to a fight on Twitter. Not a street fight, but a fight inside of a boxing ring for charity. That was perhaps the final straw for the Bears, but for the Jets, that is the type of personality they need.
The Twitter exchange with the fan was carefree, but blame Brandon Marshall’s past for the hasty judgment.
Brandon Marshall’s first few seasons in the NFL were spent with the Denver Broncos and the Miami Dolphins. Trouble landed on his doorstep while he was playing for each of those franchises.
During his three seasons with the Bears, all he has done is catch passes, showcase his personality, and most importantly, champion for mental health diseases. The Bears and a contingent of their fans saw the final two as reasons for him to be jettisoned. The Chicago Bears loss is a New York Jets gain.
That question has been raised over and over again. The Jets, looking for a shot of NFL legitimacy, will take the productivity and some of the personality. Their last big persona, former head coach Rex Ryan, charmed media members with his wit and his willingness to communicate with them. Having Marshall will keep them on the team map in terms of headlines. The New York Jets are once again relevant.
His off-the-field persona will grow, hinging on how he performs on the field.
One thing is for certain – Brandon Marshall is sure-handed. If Geno Smith, or whoever the quarterback winds up being, throws passes in his vicinity, Marshall will snag it. He is a number one receiver in the purest form, and that will allow the incumbent receivers Eric Decker and Jeremy Kerley, to be slotted in the spots which their skills are better suited for.
Provided that Smith is indeed the starting quarterback, Marshall being on the field will help further his development. All the embattled Smith has to be is steady; Marshall will do the rest by getting the tough yards. The trickle-down effect will include opening up the field for a ground and pound rushing attack, lessening the responsibilities for the quarterback. Chicago loses that bit of comfort. Their loss is the New York Jets gain.
Brandon Marshall has been many things. From being the poster child for what is wrong with the NFL to becoming something great about it. He is the truest of examples of how you can turn things around. Brandon Marshall’s transformation began with the 180-degree turn of his life, and now comes perhaps the final act – turning around the New York Jets.