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Team signs superstar past his prime, and that’s nothing worth freaking out about

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Seattle Seahawks v New York Jets Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Brandon Marshall’s last touchdown came on November 27, 2016 against the New England Patriots. He was playing for the New York Jets at the time and he was the team’s leader in targets for the day with nine; Marshall caught six of those for 67 yards and his touchdown gave the Jets a 10-0 lead that they couldn’t hold in a 22-17 loss.

Marshall’s last 100-yard game came on October 9 of that year, a 114-yard performance in a 31-13 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. A week earlier, Marshall (as evidenced above in the photo), had 89 yards and a touchdown in a 27-17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

It was around this time that Marshall began his inevitable fade into NFL obscurity, because it was only a year earlier that he was absolutely dominant practically like never before: Marshall 10 100-yard games in 2015, half of which went for more than 120. He had 109 catches for 1,502 yards and a league-leading 14 touchdowns as the Ryan Fitzpatrick-led Jets went 10-6 and fell one win shy of the postseason.

Marshall was great then. He is not great now. But his signing with the Seahawks on Tuesday does not mean that he has to be. That’s not the Brandon Marshall that Seattle signed, because the Brandon Marshall that Seattle signed is only worth up to $2 million. The Marshall who would have signed two years ago would be exponentially more expensive than that.

Marshall turned 34 in March and is coming off of the worst season of his career. Not only did he miss 11 games, but in the five games he appeared in, Marshall caught 18 of 33 targets for 154 yards and zero touchdowns. FootballOutsiders clocked him at being less valuable in 2017 then ... well, dozens of receivers you know nothing or little about. Chad Hansen, a rookie for the Jets who had nine catches for 94 yards, was more valuable than Marshall.

And no, Hansen would not get a $2 million contract right now if he tried, but Marshall does have a little bit more to go off of in terms of proving that he could be a viable target once again despite his forgettable lone season with the New York Giants.

At this point, Marshall is competing not with Doug Baldwin or Tyler Lockett, but Jaron Brown, Amara Darboh, David Moore, Tanner McEvoy and that camp for a roster spot. He may make his way onto the team like Mike Williams, but he could also go the way of Terrell Owens, Braylon Edwards, or Antonio Bryant and his time with Seattle will soon be forgotten. And it won’t matter. At all. He was there and then he wasn’t. The Seahawks aren’t signing Marshall “instead of Dez Bryant” or any other player of that caliber because Dez Bryant will presumably not cost up to $2 million. Bryant was bad last season but he wasn’t that bad and he’s five years younger. Seattle has only so much more cap space they’re willing to spend, so in the range of those players, Marshall has pushed his way in by being an affordable aging superstar.

Not as a superstar.

Randy Moss experienced a career resurgence with the Patriots in 2007, but he was 30. By 33 his value was nil. On the other hand, Plaxico Burress missed two NFL seasons then returned at age 34 and caught eight touchdowns for the Jets in 2011. Then his career was essentially over. Terrell Owens was productive to age 37. Andre Johnson signed with the Indianapolis Colts at age 34 and provided little support. Reggie Wayne was 34 with the Colts in 2012 and had 1,355 yards.

So there’s little way to know how this change will effect Marshall and if he’ll rebound, with last season’s failure with the Giants possibly having something to do with everyone failing on the Giants last season, or if this will be a signing that barely lasts three offseason months and that’s it. I’d lean towards this signing meaning very little for the 2018 Seahawks and it’s appropriate to treat it as such.

With his low cost, that’s clearly how Seattle and Marshall see it too.