Friday, a report came out that the Dolphins were considering flat-out dropping their number one wide receiver, Brandon Marshall, if no one would take him off their hands - of course, two weeks ago, the Bears traded a 2012 third round pick and 2013 third round pick to pick up Jay Cutler's favorite target from his Denver days.
When we brought this story to you on Friday night, a bunch of you dismissed the notion that Miami would do such a thing. Leaving that aside, I'm not sure why it matters if said player was going to be released. If you want a player in the NFL, you get that player.
Let's start by operating on the notion that Miami really was going to release Marshall if no one would offer a trade for him. Now we have a Pro Bowl receiver, possibly the best receiver on the market, and it's not just the Bears in the market for him. Given the contracts that we've seen handed out to receivers this free agency, it's possible Marshall commands what Vincent Jackson got from Tampa Bay, even more so. Let's hypothesize maybe another million more per year - that's a 14 million per year player. Do the Bears have that kind of financial flexibility to go after him? Methinks not.
From the view of the team doing the cutting or trading, intent to release is not something you announce beforehand. But at least by trading him, the team gets something for him - even if it's two draft picks, one that won't help till next year, it's better than releasing a player and eating the rest of his signing bonus against the cap.
So why wait? No matter what, in order to get something, you have to be willing to give something - in free agency, that's money, and in trades, that's draft picks and other players.
So let's look at the exact situation. Marshall is making approximately nine million per year, which is the minimum it'd cost financially. So the tradeoff becomes the draft picks involved in the trade versus the extra cash it'd take to sign the receiver in free agency. A pick this year and a pick next year versus four-to-five million dollars per year and the risk of not getting a receiver your team could really really use.
Obviously, not everyone views players the same - Jerry Angelo was in the same situation when it came to picking up Chris Harris from Carolina, and when he tried shopping Alex Brown before dropping him. It depends on who's going to be in on that player. While nobody bit on Brown, and possibly no one else would have been in on Harris, Marshall would have been in immediate demand when he hit the market.
So don't wait. If you're a GM, and you really want a player on your team, you get him, before his value jumps on the market.