You may not actually be aware of it since there hasn’t been a lot of chatter on the situation, but Brandon Marshall only has one year remaining on his contract. Marshall is going to make $9.3 million in 2014 and then, barring a contract extension before the end of the year, he’s going to hit the free agent market.
Considering the way he has played since coming to the Bears and putting on the orange and blue, there’s a chance he could prove to be too expensive for Chicago, particularly with the emergence of Alshon Jeffery.
There’s good news, however. Just because Marshall may be worth a lot doesn’t mean he’s going to need a lot. Marshall says he has no plans on leaving Chicago, and he’s not going to need a huge contract to stay, either.
“I have another year left on my contract. If it happens, it happens; if it doesn’t, I’m glad to be a Bear for another year and I’m going to force them to sign me after next year,” Marshall told ESPN 1000. “One way or another, they’re going to get the deal done. But if it comes down to next year, I’ll be picketing outside of Halas Hall for a new deal, a new contract, because I’m not going anyplace.
“The guys that are out there now, like Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald, they’re making $16 million, $15 million a year, and I’m not looking for anything like that.”
So Brandon isn’t looking to break the bank, though if I had a dollar for every time I heard a soon-to-be free agent say he wasn’t looking to break the bank, only to go out and get as much as humanly possible, my bank would currently be broken. That being said, I’ll give Marshall the benefit of the doubt here. If you look at his career numbers, the best years of his career have come in Denver and Chicago when he was paired with Jay Cutler, and he’s obviously happy here. So maybe the “hometown discount” is a legitimate possibility.
What’s also a legitimate possibility is that, if Marshall does take a discount, he certainly won’t be getting paid what he’s worth as far as the market is concerned. Since coming to Chicago he’s been one of, if not the best receiver in the NFL.
Here’s a comparison of grades some of the best receivers in the NFL have been given by Pro Football Focus over the last two years, Marshall’s two seasons with the Bears. I just combined their grades from the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
|PFF Grades of Premiere WR in 2012-13|
And there’s Marshall at the top. Now, to be clear, this isn’t a top nine. I may have missed some guys who have higher grades than the guys on the bottom of this list, I just chose them because they’re names that come up when you think about the best receivers in the league.
But nobody has higher grades than Marshall. He was the ninth-highest rated receiver in 2012 with a grade of 21.2, but in 2013 he was at the top with a grade of 37.3. The receiver in second place was Jordy Nelson, a full 13.6 points behind Marshall at 23.7.
In other words, Brandon Marshall is very good at his job, and should he hit the open market, he will be paid like it. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that, and both he and the Bears can figure out a way to keep him here a few more seasons without crippling the cap situation.
I mean, Brandon and Jay are basically best friends, right? Jay can lend him some dough if he really needs it.
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