Brandon Marshall to the Dolphins
Last year, only Cleveland Brown wide receivers caught fewer touchdowns than the paltry half-dozen Miami Dolphins wideouts produced. The lineup of Davone Bess, Brian Hartline, Greg Camarillo, and Ted Ginn struck fear into the hearts of absolutely no one.
With a wide receiver planted firmly atop the Dolphins’ offseason wish list, Miami didn’t wait around for draft day; they pulled the trigger on a deal that sent second-round picks in the 2010 and 2011 drafts to the Denver Broncos in exchange for the über-talented yet enigmatic Brandon Marshall.
It’s an interesting fit, but the way the Dolphins finished the season—with Chad Henne throwing 46 or more passes in three of Miami’s final five games—it makes sense. Ronnie Brown’s return is no sure thing and Ricky Williams is getting on in years; without the assurance of their one-two running game punch, and with a competent quarterback, Miami is transitioning to a passing team. And a passing team needs more than Bess, Hartline, Camarillo, and Ginn.
Consider this: counting just his numbers from the final five games of 2009, Marshall had a better statistical season than Ginn (38-454-1). It took him six games to best Hartline (31-506-3), seven to top Camarillo (50-552-0), and just half a season to outperform Bess’s 76-758-2. You think Henne, whose 2,878 yards and 12 TDs in 14 games ranked him in Vince Young/Mark Sanchez territory among fantasy performers, is looking forward to a target that single-handedly elevated Kyle Orton to the fringe of fantasy relevancy?
If there’s a downside to Marshall, it’s in a personality that can only be described as enigmatic. Was it a personality clash with Broncos coach Josh McDaniels that drove him out of Denver, or will he have difficulty meshing with Tony Sparano and Bill Parcells in Miami? Will his new $47.5 million contract cause complacency to set in, even though only $14.5 million is guaranteed? Will the South Beach night life claim as its victim a young man just two years removed from a three-game suspension (later reduced to one) and whose resume includes arrests for DUI, domestic violence, misdemeanor battery, and disorderly conduct? Or maybe Marshall is simply a never-satisfied diva receiver, a Terrell Owens type whose act will eventually wear thin with his new organization just like it did in Denver?
Those are the headaches that lead a team to trade the single-game receptions record holder less than half a season after he set the mark, the headaches that drive the price of a superstar like Marshall down to two second-rounders.
All things considered, that’s a relatively low degree of risk for a guy fresh off a third straight 100-reception, 1,000-yard season with a career-high 10 touchdowns.