Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
Could it be? Brandon Marshall to Chicago? That's what D.J. Izzle asked via our so-hot-it's-blinding Facebook page after seeing an ESPN Insider headline to that effect.
Then the notes started pouring into the mailbag. John of Brookfield asked:
Do you think the Bears will (attempt to) trade for Brandon Marshall? If they don't attempt to trade for him, do you expect the Bears to pursue Marshall next year as a free agent? I think, besides his legal issues, he would be a great addition to the team. What do you think about this?
I hate to be the bearer of bad news (pun sort of intended), but as of now it's hard to imagine the embattled Denver receiver making his way to Chicago for 2009. Even if they had interest in acquiring him, the Bears would run into the same trouble they experienced when contemplating a trade for Anquan Boldin: Their resources are limited.
The Broncos already have Chicago's 2010 first-round pick following the Jay Cutler trade, and it's unlikely Denver would accept a 2010 second-round pick for him. I suppose the Bears could send their 2011 first-rounder for him, but it seems unlikely they'll want to let three years pass before they get another chance to choose a player in the first round.
That's assuming the Broncos are willing to trade Marshall. It's always possible they could release him, making him available for no compensation to the Broncos. But I think he would still have trade value regardless of his legal issues.
Marshall is eligible for unrestricted free agency after this season, assuming the NFL and NFL Players Association agree on a new collective bargaining agreement. (If not, Marshall would be a restricted free agent.) Regardless, it's unlikely the Broncos would allow him to leave with no compensation, perhaps placing a franchise tag on him to ensure some return if he ultimately departs. That again puts the Bears in a hole, considering the high draft choices they have already coughed up for Cutler.
And then there is the issue of Cutler. How would he feel about reuniting with a player he called out a year ago? Here's a sample of what Cutler said in the spring of 2008:
"Yeah, he's not my favorite person right now. I mean, I support him, but it's always something with him right now."
Most relationships are repairable, and the decision isn't up to Cutler, anyway. But for now, I think we should all splash cold water on our faces and accept there's nothing imminent going on here.