Bears trade for Brandon Marshall

Updated: March 14, 2012, 2:58 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

CHICAGO -- Finally, the Chicago Bears can stop looking for a top receiver.

They reeled one in Tuesday, landing three-time Pro Bowler Brandon Marshall in a trade with the Miami Dolphins that addressed their biggest need.

There was widespread speculation the Bears would go after a high-profile free-agent receiver such as Vincent Jackson, but they filled their biggest hole with a blockbuster deal instead, sending two third-round draft picks to Miami.

It's the first big move under new general manager Phil Emery, who replaced the fired Jerry Angelo, and it gives Jay Cutler the go-to receiver he's been seeking since he arrived from the Broncos in a trade three years ago.

Even better, it reunites him with one of his top targets in Denver.

Marshall made the Pro Bowl for the third time last year, when he had 81 catches for 1,214 yards and six scores. But he also dropped at least four potential touchdown catches and failed to end his career-long playoff drought.

The Dolphins had a losing record in each of his two seasons with them, and coach Tony Sparano was fired in December.

Last July, Marshall disclosed he was diagnosed earlier in the year with borderline personality disorder, which stems from such things as a negative self-image and a fear of failure. Then at midseason he said efforts to keep his emotions on an even keel had hurt his play, and before a Monday night game he claimed his goal was to get ejected before halftime.

Marshall sparred with quarterback Chad Henne during his first season with the Dolphins, but he seemed popular in the locker room last year. Dolphins players reacting on Twitter said they were sorry to hear the news of the trade, while Bears players were overjoyed.

"Hate to see my boy B Marshall go," running back Reggie Bush tweeted. "That's the league for you, one day your hear next day your gone. Chicago is getting one hell of a player!"

"Brandon Marshall out of Miami?" center Mike Pouncey tweeted. "Tell me this ain't true..."

Bears linebacker Lance Briggs called it "a great day" on Twitter, with Chicago agreeing to a two-year deal to retain cornerback Tim Jennings and trading for Marshall.

The Bears also agreed to a one-year deal with quarterback Jason Campbell to back up Cutler.

[+] EnlargeJay Cutler, Brandon Marshall
Jamie Squire/Getty ImagesFormer teammates in Denver, Jay Cutler, left, and Brandon Marshall, right, were reunited in Chicago after Tuesday's trade.

Campbell has spent the past two years in Oakland after playing his first four seasons with Washington and has started 70 of the 71 games he has appeared in. But he was injured midway through last season and the Raiders brought in Carson Palmer.

He has completed 1,296 of 2,131 passes for 14,417 yards, 74 touchdowns and 50 interceptions in his career.

The Bears were looking for a backup after Caleb Hanie struggled late last season filling in for the injured Cutler. Chicago eventually turned to Josh McCown, who is a free agent.

Regarding Marshall, Devin Hester Tweeted: "I'm so happy we got another Florida boy on the team!"

The trade comes less than 24 hours after, sources told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen, new Dolphins coach Joe Philbin and staff met with Peyton Manning for five to six hours in Indianapolis on Monday.

Tuesday's deal stirred speculation in Miami that the Dolphins parted with Marshall to clear cap space and roster room for former Colts receiver Reggie Wayne, which might help them lure Manning to Miami. However, multiple sources told ESPN's Schefter on Tuesday night that Wayne has agreed to a three-year deal to return to Indianapolis.

In Chicago, the trade led to a big sigh of relief.

For years, the Bears have lacked a go-to receiver, and now, they have one.

They tried to make their record-setting return specialist Hester their top threat. They brought in Roy Williams last year, hoping he could rediscover some of the form that made him a Pro Bowler in Mike Martz's system in Detroit after a disappointing run in Dallas, but that didn't happen.

Throw in the uncertainty surrounding Johnny Knox after his season-ending back injury and the need was glaring -- not that it was the only hole.

The Bears were looking for another pass-rushing defensive end to go with Pro Bowler Julius Peppers and there are issues on the offensive line and in the secondary.

The lack of depth was a big reason why they fell apart after a 7-3 start, dropping five straight before winning the final game and missing the playoffs after making the NFC title game the previous year.

The free fall started after Cutler broke his right thumb late in a win over San Diego on Nov. 20 and got another push when running back Matt Forte sprained a ligament in his right knee against Kansas City on Dec. 4, leaving the offense without its two best players.

The collapse led to Angelo's dismissal and the Bears parting with Martz as their offensive coordinator.

Pouncey Brandon Marshall out of Miami? Tell me this ain't true...

-- Tweet from Dolphins C Mike Pouncey

They promoted offensive line coach Mike Tice to replace him and hired Jeremy Bates as quarterbacks coach, reuniting him with Cutler.

Now, Marshall's in the mix, too.

"Jay Cutler and Jeremy Bates makes it great," Marshall's agent, Kennard McGuire, wrote in a text message to The Associated Press.

When Marshall played against the Bears in 2010, he drew a penalty for taunting by flipping the ball at Cutler, standing in front of the bench.

"We're good friends," Marshall said at the time. "I was just messing with him."

Marshall's trade comes just four days after he was allegedly involved in a fight as a New York City night club early Sunday morning.

According to The New York Post, Marshall got into an argument with a group of friends celebrating a birthday at the club and eventually punched the woman celebrating in her left eye, leaving her with a black eye.

Marshall's attorney, Harvey Steinberg, said in a statement early Wednesday morning that Marshall and his friends were not involved in the melee.

"Brandon Marshall was the key note speaker at a charitable event in New York. After the event was over he, his wife and close friends attended a function at a local club," the statement said. "While at the function a fight broke out NOT involving Mr. Marshall or his friends."

Steinberg said that while Marshall and his wife were attempting to leave the club, Marshall's wife was hit in the face with a bottle and suffered "serious" injuries that required hospitalization.

Steinberg said Marshall would cooperate with the investigation.

Marshall wore out his welcome in Denver, partly because of a long legal record. He was involved in a New Year's Eve fight that led to the 2007 drive-by slaying of Broncos teammate Darrent Williams.

Last year Marshall's wife was arrested after he was stabbed in the abdomen with a kitchen knife during a domestic dispute. Charges were later dropped.

The Dolphins acquired Marshall from Denver in 2010 for a pair of second-round draft picks.

Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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