AFC East: Marshall Traded

Video: Marshall locked up for five years

April, 14, 2010
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the Miami Dolphins already have signed receiver Brandon Marshall to a four-year extension worth $47.5 million. This is in addition to the one-year qualifying offer he signed Tuesday, bringing the Dolphins' commitment to $50 million over five years, in addition to the two second-round draft picks they spent to get him. Marshall's deal includes $24 million in guarantees.

Depending on how you count the money, Marshall can be considered the highest-paid receiver in NFL history. Arizona Cardinals star Larry Fitzgerald also averages $10 million a season.

Better value: Holmes or Marshall?

April, 14, 2010
Within the span of three days, the AFC East has added two dangerous receivers with off-field issues.

Who got the better value?

I'm not asking you to name the better receiver. I'd like you to consider what the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins gave up to acquire Santonio Holmes and Brandon Marshall and everything they bring beyond their talents.

Take a look at the breakdown and jot your thoughts in the comments section.

Santonio Holmes

  • Price: fifth-round pick in this year's draft.
  • Honors: MVP of Super Bowl XLIII.
  • Last year with Pittsburgh: 79 receptions, 1,248 yards, five touchdowns.
  • Three-year average: 62 receptions, 1,004 yards, six touchdowns.
  • Contract status: Entering the final year of the five-year deal he signed as a rookie. Jets would like to re-sign him if he proves himself.
  • Problems: Will open the season with a four-game suspension for multiple violations of the league's substance-abuse policy. He has been arrested for domestic violence and is being sued after allegedly striking a woman with a glass last month at a club.
Brandon Marshall

  • Price: second-round pick in this year's draft and reportedly a second-round pick in 2011.
  • Honors: Two-time Pro Bowler.
  • Last year with Denver: 101 receptions, 1,120 yards, 10 touchdowns.
  • Three-year average: 102 receptions, 1,237 yards, eight touchdowns.
  • Contract status: Signed an extension with the Dolphins for four years, $47.5 million.
  • Problems: Served a one-game suspension in 2008 for repeated misbehavior (DUI, domestic violence, et al). Suspension originally was for three games but reduced on appeal.

Marshall alters Dolphins immediately

April, 14, 2010
For years, fans have begged the Miami Dolphins to acquire a downfield threat.

They Dolphins finally have done so, acquiring Brandon Marshall from the Denver Broncos for a 2010 second-round draft pick and what sources tell ESPN's Adam Schefter will be a second-round pick in 2011.

Marshall's arrival will change Miami's offensive dynamic immediately.

Chad Henne, who played with a receiving corps designed for Chad Pennington's soft-toss arm, has a legitimate deep target to stretch the field and snag jump balls in the red zone.

Marshall has been the NFL's most prolific receiver, topping triple digits in receptions three times in his four NFL seasons. Over the past three years, he has averaged 102 receptions for 1,237 yards and eight touchdowns.

Miami's top two receivers in the past two seasons have aggregate numbers not substantially better.

Last season, Davone Bess and Greg Camarillo (two undrafted players) combined for 126 receptions and 1,310 yards with two touchdowns.

In 2008, Ted Ginn and Camarillo combined for 111 receptions and 1,403 yards with four touchdowns.

The Dolphins had a single 1,000-yard receiver in the aughts. Chris Chambers gained 1,118 yards in 2005.

Scouts Inc.: Marshall just what Fins needed

April, 14, 2010
Brandon Marshall is heading to Miami. I love it. There are far too many cases lately of teams inserting a very young franchise-type quarterback into the lineup, but failing to give him a suitable go-to option to lean on. Marshall is exactly that guy.

[+] EnlargeMarshall
Andy Lyons/Getty ImagesBrandon Marshall gives the Dolphins a legitimate No. 1 option at receiver.
Marshall is a big wideout who plays even bigger. He has long arms, great ball skills and attacks the ball in the air. He wants the football and immediately becomes dangerous with the ball in his hands. Marshall is a strong runner who can break defensive back tackles and is quick to get upfield. His abilities are undeniable.

Even with Jay Cutler no longer in Denver, Marshall remained extremely productive with Kyle Orton distributing the football -- and I contend that Chad Henne is already a superior quarterback to Orton and certainly has the better tools. Henne has been known to lose the strike zone at times, but Marshall’s massive catching radius would make up for some of those problems when they do arise.

Also, the Dolphins are an outstanding running team and should remain a run-first group. They have an exceptional offensive line in place, and this dynamic should open up a lot of play-action opportunities for Marshall and allow him to see single coverage at times on early downs as Miami’s opponent stacks the line of scrimmage.

The Dolphins could utilize heavy run-oriented personnel with only one wideout, Marshall, on the field and still be a position to threaten a defense with the pass. Such personnel groupings are something that the Dolphins love to utilize, but that passing threat didn’t exist in these instances last season.

Miami also has a slew of pass-catchers in Davone Bess, Brian Hartline, Ted Ginn, Greg Camarillo and Anthony Fasano who will drastically benefit from the attention that Marshall will receive. All of a sudden, Miami has an above-average group of receivers with Marshall in the fold.

If Hartline continues to develop, then Bess can strictly be a slot option, which is clearly where he is best suited. Even if it is just Ginn (assuming he is still around) and Marshall on the field together, Ginn will receive single coverage most of the time and could use his pure speed to make plays deep against such favorable coverage -- or at least propose the threat of doing so.

Bill Parcells has had his share of run-ins with talented, but combustible wide receivers. Marshall clearly fits that bill. But although he surely has had off-the-field indiscretions, there is no denying Marshall’s competitiveness on the field.

The Dolphins will never get to where they want to go without an improved passing game. This is a passing league. Henne showed great potential last season and became increasingly comfortable as the season progressed. But there was one massive component missing: a No. 1 receiving threat. Marshall would be that final component.

I also contend that a true No. 1 receiver, like Marshall, is the last piece needed on offense. In turn, after adding Marshall, Miami should almost concentrate solely on the defensive side of the ball during the upcoming draft.

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