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How to apply skepticism and optimism to Brandon Marshall’s arrival

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at New York Giants Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Marshall, he of three games played in 2018, and three years removed from productivity, is a member of the Seattle Seahawks.

There are legitimate reasons to pooh-pooh the move, to express serious skepticism it will work, or amount to a net positive for the team.

  • Maybe Marshall, 34, doesn’t recover well enough from the ankle injury he suffered last October that held him out the rest of the season.
  • Maybe he doesn’t have good enough hands to succeed in a balanced offense, where every drop is more costly than in a high-volume passing scheme. Marshall has more seasons under 60 percent catch rate than above. He drops passes. 77 of his last 161 targets have gone incomplete. You’ll tell me that’s in part because Eli Manning was throwing him footballs. Maybe.
  • Maybe he’s finished. He wouldn’t be the last wide receiver to fold his hand to Father Time, who eventually gets a straight flush to beat your full house. The game is rigged.
  • Maybe this is another of the signings that showcase how much Pete Carroll likes to add players who’ve had good games against the Seahawks but have little else to show for their recent accomplishments.
  • Maybe he doesn’t play well with others. The Seahawks will be his sixth organization, and fourth in the last five years.

There are plenty of reasons to doubt that he will make a positive impact on the 2018 Seahawks. And yet,

Magnus is right, speed doesn’t figure to be much of Marshall’s game anymore.

Good chance it’s easy to make too much of the entire signing, either way. It’s late May, we’re 100 or more days removed in either direction from an actual Seahawks game. Could be that we’re not thinking about this day, even a little bit, come Week 1.

There’s little reason to believe Marshall will duplicate his best seasons. He isn’t suited to be WR1. Well, Seattle has Doug Baldwin, who is. Marshall might not be explosive enough to fill WR2 shoes. Well, Tyler Lockett is a deep threat. If Marshall is the possession receiver who uses his big body properly, though, then he’s a weapon. Even if you don’t fire it as often.

There are enough reasons to be skeptical. But without downside, it’s tempting to look at footage like this —

— and see Marshall as another lottery ticket that has a nonzero chance of paying off, a 6-foot-4 red zone threat who uses his veteran wiles, his length and his savvy to make a few significant plays along the way.

It’s tempting to rewind to 2015, which isn’t so long ago, and notice that Marshall led the league in touchdown catches, with 14.

Had a few really nice seasons before that, too. It’s tempting to think that a guy who posted double-digit Approximate Value six times still has something left in the tank.

If he doesn’t get cut in training camp like Terrell Owens.