The Baltimore Ravens need a wide receiver. They need a top target for Joe Flacco. They want a playmaker on the outside.
What they do not need is Brandon Marshall.
There are reports surfacing today that the Chicago Bears are exploring the possibility of trading the talented wide receiver, and while it makes sense for the Ravens to listen, they should do just that. Listen, and walk away.
New Bears coach John Fox reportedly wants to change the culture inside the locker room as some Bears players have fallen out with Marshall. The wide receiver was overly outspoken with the media and was involved in an incident with teammates during the 2014 season.
It makes sense that the Ravens would be interested in Marshall. The Ravens, no doubt, want a big-play wide receiver. Marshall continues to play at a Pro Bowl level. They have Marshall’s former coach in Marc Trestman.
Marshall excited the Ravens fan base a month ago when he asked John Harbaugh about playing for the Ravens during an interview on Showtime’s “Inside the NFL.”
“[During Super Bowl Week] I actually interviewed [Harbaugh],” Marshall said in the Showtime interview. “I said, ‘If I played for you, would you let me do ‘Inside the NFL?’
“[Harbaugh] said, ‘Oh, absolutely.’ He knew I was taking a lot of heat for doing the show. But, when you are the first in the space to do something like this, you are going to get a lot of push-back and we (The Bears) had the worst year possible.”
On paper, Marshall would be the best option the Ravens could fetch. He’s tallied over 100 catches in five seasons, over 1,000 yards in seven of nine career seasons and has scored six or more touchdowns in six of those nine years.
He will also be 31 years old on March 23 and is a year removed from the worst statistical season since his rookie campaign. He totaled 61 receptions for 721 yards and eight touchdowns in 13 games. Marshall missed the final three games with two broken ribs and a collapsed lung while battling ankle injuries most of the season.
The Bears are not forced to release Marshall with nearly $28 million in available cap space. Cutting the wide receiver would save just $3.95 million, and he would count as $5.625 million in dead money. The Bears are fully aware that Marshall would not garner much in return, but are still looking to part with the former Central Florida star.
The Ravens simply can’t afford Marshall. Torrey Smith is expected to command good money on the open market that Baltimore can’t match. If they can’t find the money for Smith, then they definitely can’t for Marshall. The Ravens have just $4.6 million in cap space, and Marshall will make $7.5 million in guaranteed money if he is on a roster on March 12.
It will also be difficult for the Ravens to convince the casual fan that Marshall is a respectable guy. Torrey is a high character guy, well loved by his teammates and the community. Replacing his tremendous demeanor with an egotistical maniac would be tough to sell. Not to mention that the outspoken Steve Smith is still on the roster. Talk about some serious trash talking.
Let’s also not forget about the debacle from last season. The Ravens are just removed from the Ray Rice fiasco. He was caught on camera delivering a nasty blow to his then-fiancé (now wife) Janay Palmer. The league has admitted its fault in their original punishment and the Ravens cut him. They pledged to not to take on guys with a history of domestic violence.
Marshall has been named in at least eight different incidents of violence against women since being draft in 2006. The NFL has suspended him for just one game in that span. The league’s response was minimal because none of the incidents led to any criminal conviction. Thomas Lake of SI.com detailed Marshall’s complex history of domestic violence.
The Ravens cannot set themselves up for it to happen again. They do not need any more distractions in Baltimore.
There is no denying that the Ravens need that big-bodied playmaker. There are other options available that could fill the void. Like Marshall, Dwayne Bowe is reportedly available for a trade. Andre Johnson was released by the Houston Texans. Hakeem Nicks is available as a free agent come March 10.
They just don’t need it to be Marshall.
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