Step 2 of Marshall process has begun

Finally, there appears to be some progress in the Brandon Marshall restricted free-agency saga.

At the NFL owners meetings on Wednesday morning, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll acknowledged that the team has had some preliminary talks about a deal with the agent of Denver’s Pro Bowl receiver. That is an important step, even if the talks are preliminary.

On March 6, we outlined the three major steps in the Marshall process. We are now on step No. 2. That means Seattle felt good after step No. 1 following Marshall's visit on the first weekend of free agency.

By Carroll’s statements Wednesday, it’s clear Seattle liked Marshall and it is still very interested in making him a Seahawk. The team has several former Denver assistants on its staff, including offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates.

“Knowing that he has a chance to be available, just as any other aspect of developing a football team, we’re looking for the best guys we can possibly find and see what we can do with them, and see what his individual situation holds,” Carroll said. “There is a chance that you can find a way to get him, but that’s all. That’s really all I can really tell you about it. We enjoyed the visit. We have a lot of information and background with him because of Jeremy. Jeremy Bates had a very good relationship with him in Denver. Jedd Fisch was on the staff. Pat McPherson was on the staff. Those guys all know him. So they give us unique insights, I think, to understanding how he could fit into the offense and what he could do in helping us.”

With step No. 2 in play, the Seahawks and Marshall have to come up with a contract that works for both sides. If that happens, we’ll go to the final and most tricky step -- discussing trade compensation with the Broncos.

Marshall has a first-round tender and Denver wants a top pick for him. Seattle has the No. 6 and No. 14 picks in the draft. It is not giving up the No. 6 pick, and the No. 14 pick (acquired from Denver last year so Denver could take cornerback Alphonso Smith in the second round) is not going away without a major fight and other returned compensation. Perhaps Denver will lessen its compensation request and take a second-rounder and a package of other picks.

But that chatter won’t begin until step No. 2 is finalized. With the draft four weeks away, there is some time.

But at least we know Seattle is still working through the process. Ultimately, that has to be good news for Denver. Seattle has been the only team to show legitimate interest in Marshall and that interest clearly remains.