Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Top 3 reciever Marshall heads to Miami in trade from Denver
The Denver Broncos have traded wide receiver Brandon Marshall to the Miami Dolphins for second-round draft picks in 2010 and 2011, the Broncos announced Wednesday.
Marshall and the Dolphins subsequently agreed on a four-year, $47.5 million contract extension that includes $24 million in guaranteed money, according to a league source. The deal includes close to $29 million in the first three years of the contract and makes Marshall the highest-paid receiver in NFL history. Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald previously had the richest deal of any receiver, averaging $10 million per season.
The trade is contingent upon the league processing the paperwork and Marshall passing his physical.
In acquiring Marshall, the Dolphins gained a deep threat at receiver to loosen up defenses for their potentially potent ground game and young, strong-armed quarterback Chad Henne. In return, the Broncos get two high draft picks for a player who caused them headaches in addition to making plays.
Last summer, Marshall was suspended by the team for throwing a tantrum at practice during training camp. The source of his frustration was twofold: he was upset with the team's medical staff for misdiagnosing a hip injury that required offseason surgery and he was displeased with his contract.
Despite those difficulties, Marshall caught 101 passes for 1,120 yards and 10 touchdowns last season, including an NFL-record 21 in a loss at Indianapolis. He has 327 career receptions for 4,019 yards and 25 touchdowns in four seasons, all in Denver, which drafted him out of Central Florida with a fourth-round pick in 2006.
Broncos coach Josh McDaniels told ESPN's Ed Werder that in a post-trade phone call with Marshall, he told the receiver that he enjoyed their time together, predicted success for him with the Dolphins and expressed regret that their own partnership could not be successful in the long term.
Marshall's departure leaves the Broncos with Jabar Gaffney, who had 54 catches for 732 yards and two TDs last season, as their top receiver. Eddie Royal caught 37 passes with no TDs and Brandon Stokley had 19 catches, four for TDs.
In a little more than a year, with a pair of blockbuster trades, Denver has recouped two first-round picks, two second-round picks, a third-round pick and quarterback Kyle Orton in exchange for Jay Cutler and Marshall.
McDaniels told Werder the decisions to trade Cutler and Marshall were motivated by his belief that the moves were essential to build a successful team. He also said he is convinced that the Broncos achieved the best possible result in trading Marshall for a pair of second-round draft picks, while remaining mindful of Marshall's interests.
Nice Catch For Miami?
Fifteen wide receivers have caught passes for the Dolphins the past three seasons. In that span, Brandon Marshall has more touchdowns and 100-yard games than all of them combined.
Category Marshall Miami
Receptions 307 521
Rec. yards 3,710 6,257
Rec. TDs 23 18
100-yard games 10 9
If the trade goes through, Marshall will join a Dolphins team that struggled in the passing game last season.
Category Dolphins NFL Rank (out of 32)
Receptions 331 18th
Rec. yards 3,396 21st
Rec. TDs 15 T-27th
Yards/catch 10.3 T-29th
The trade also shakes up things in the AFC East, as Miami has arguably topped the deal the New York Jets made earlier this week, when they traded a fifth-round draft pick for talented but troubled Steelers receiver Santonio Holmes.
Miami is a surprise destination for Marshall because Dolphins coach Tony Sparano hadn't shown much interest in acquiring him. But football czar Bill Parcells, who has final say on personnel matters in Miami, has never shied away from talented-but-troubled wide receivers, working with Terry Glenn in New England, Keyshawn Johnson in New York and Terrell Owens in Dallas.
The Dolphins' passing game can use the help.
Speedy Ted Ginn Jr. has been a disappointment since Miami took him with the ninth overall draft pick in 2007. Ginn and the other wideouts -- Brian Hartline, Davone Bess and Greg Camarillo -- combined for only six touchdown catches last season.
The acquisition of a top-line receiver frees up the Dolphins to use the No. 12 pick in the draft next week on the defensive front seven, where help is also needed.
The trade, a complex negotiation involving as many as four teams, began shortly after Marshall failed to secure a contract offer as a restricted free agent and signed his one-year tender with the Broncos on Tuesday morning. A source with direct involvement in the talks told Werder that McDaniels and general manager Brian Xanders negotiated with Parcells and Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland into the early-morning hours Wednesday before reaching an agreement.
Miami was hot after Marshall, as was Seattle. Tampa Bay showed some interest, and even the Jets considered making a play for Marshall before making their deal for Holmes, according to sources.
Marshall, 26, is one of the game's best young wide receivers, a mercurial talent in the prime of his career at the position where the Dolphins needed help most. But like Holmes, he also brings a reputation of being difficult to handle and a record that has him one strike from a yearlong suspension.
Marshall has had several run-ins with the law and visits to commissioner Roger Goodell's office to discuss his off-the-field behavior. He was suspended for the 2008 opener following a series of domestic disputes involving a former girlfriend.
In February, an emotional Marshall was a witness in the murder trial of Willie Clark, who was convicted in the 2007 drive-by slaying of Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams.