Bears receiver Brandon Marshall is reportedly on the trade block, per a report out of Chicago this morning.
One NFL source said the Bears are shopping Marshall with the idea of moving him. Another source said his belief is the team is taking calls in regard to Marshall. Trades cannot be finalized until 3 p.m. Tuesday. The key date to keep in mind with Marshall is Thursday, March 12. That is when his base salary of $7.5 million for 2015 becomes fully guaranteed.
It's not known what the Bears are seeking in exchange for Marshall, who will turn 31 at the end of the month, but it's almost certainly less than the two third-round draft picks they sent to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for him in March 2012. One source said the Bears potentially could move him for a mid-round pick. It's unknown if the team would consider releasing Marshall instead of locking into the contract for the coming season.
At the moment, Marshall's total contract dead money ($5.625M) is greater than his potential cap savings ($3.95M) this season, but with a new regime in Chicago, big changes could be on the horizon. Marshall had an injury-riddled year in 2014, his production was down, and he was a distraction along the way at times, so an outright release doesn't seem out of the question.
SI.com's Don Banks wrote in February,
It appears to be at that point in the proceedings where Marshall has worn out his welcome in Chicago, much as he did in Denver and Miami before arriving in Chicago in 2012. While it's not known yet whether the Bears will follow suit and decide less is more when it comes to Marshall and his spotlight-seeking ways, there are rumblings that the new management tandem of head coach John Fox and GM Ryan Pace may see the gifted receiver as more a part of the problem in Chicago than the solution.
Last season, Marshall angered some in the organization with his post-game outbursts against teammates, his weekly trip to New York for the taping of Showtime's "Inside the NFL," his occasional dust-ups on Twitter, and his propensity to display a me-first attitude. In other words, he was a lot closer to the diva receiver stereotype than he had been in his first two seasons as a Bear.
So, at the very least, it appears that Marshall is a potential trade candidate, but he could potentially find himself released with a post-June 1st designation as well. Will the Seahawks be interested in either case?
When it comes to big outside receivers, that's a profile in which this front office has seemed to be consistently interested. They pursued Marshall several years ago when he was on the open market, and they've tried a number of guys in that role since that time.
If the price for a trade was a 3rd round pick (or a mid round pick, as Yahoo!'s Rand Getlin notes), I don't necessarily think that would be an outrageous cost, but that said, he's due $7.5M in 2015, $7.9M in 2016, and $8.3M in 2017. I would doubt, either way, that Marshall would make it to 2017 on that deal but would that $7.5M hit in 2015 be too steep? I tend to think it would be for a lot of teams.
So, I would make the guess right now that the Seahawks, and most teams, will wait and see if the Bears release him outright. If Marshall makes it to free agency, I think that's when things would obviously heat up and I would assume he'd have a gaggle of pursuers. The Seahawks would have to do their due diligence when it comes to his off-the-field stuff and decide whether a potential distraction like that is something they'd be willing to suffer. On the field though, it seems that he'd be a great fit for the Seattle offense as that outside the numbers, go-up-and-get-it type of receiver.
Stand by on that front.
Meawhile, in Kansas City, it's being reported that the Chiefs are looking to trade Dwayne Bowe and barring the discovery of any partners, they'll cut him. Bowe, the Chiefs' number-one receiver, will count for $14 million against the cap in 2015 after signing a five-year, $56 million deal two years ago, so keeping him around at that number doesn't make a lot of sense.
Bowe had 60 catches for 754 yards in 2014, in an offense that didn't produce a touchdown out of the receiver position all season. At age 30, he can still play, but he's just not worth the price tag that he carries at the moment. Will the Seahawks be suitors? Not in a trade, surely, but once he's released, I could see Bowe being on their radar.
So, stand by on that as well.
If a team is "exploring trade options" for a high-salaried player, in the minds of the front office, he's already gone.— Andrew Brandt (@adbrandt) March 5, 2015