LAKE FOREST, IL - JUNE 12: Brandon Marshall #15 of the Chicago Bears works out during a minicamp practice at Halas Hall on June 12, 2012 in Lake Forest, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
When I scour the internet for Chicago Bears bits to bring to your attention, I'm often flabbergasted at some of the negativity surrounding the Bears. Then again, it's probably just the fan in me, and I'm being overly sensitive. But this little nugget from Jason La Canfora had me puzzled. In his article he lists some of the best bargains and some of the worst contracts in the NFL and under the "worst" heading is new Bears wide out Brandon Marshall. A guy with 5 straight 1000 yard seasons has a "bloated" contract according to La Canfora.
There are 3 players that have topped a thousand yards in each of the last 5 seasons. Marshall, Roddy White, and Larry Fitzgerald. White, like Marshall, has played in 3 Pro Bowls in that time, while Fitzgerald has been named to 5. White signed a 6 year, $50 million contract with the Falcons in 2009, and he's set to make $8,025,000 this season. Fitzgerald signed an 8 year, $128.5 million contract extension with the Cardinals in 2011, and he's set to make $13,250,000 in 2012. Marshall signed a 5 year $47.5 million extension with the Dolphins in 2010, and his 2012 cap hit will be $9,300,000.
If the Bears didn't trade for Marshall they probably would have signed a free agent WR, and here are a few of the deals made for free agent wide outs this off season. The Buccaneers signed Vincent Jackson for 5 years at $55.5 million, the Chargers signed Robert Meachem to 4 year $25.9 million deal, Laurent Robinson signed with Jacksonville for $32.5 million over 5 years, and the Redskins got Pierre Garcon for 5 years and $42.5 million.
I just don't see the Marshall deal to be that outrageous when considering some of his peers, their production, and their importance to their respective teams.
Here's what La Canfora said about Marshall;
He obviously was a bust in Miami and has had domestic troubles and fought with teammates. This would seem to be his last, best shot to continue to earn big money in the NFL. The way the deal is structured, Chicago could get out of it in the future without much cap concern, and Marshall needs to make the most of his reunion with Jay Cutler.
I disagree with his contract assessment when factoring in what he will bring to the Bears. Brandon Marshall is an elite wide receiver that put's up Pro Bowl numbers year in and year out. And he even mentions the favorable structure to the deal if by chance there's a snag. But how in the Hell does he think he was a bust in Miami?
He caught 167 balls in his two years as a Dolphin with Chad Henne and Matt Moore throwing most of the passes to him. And while it's a mostly meaningless exhibition that favors the passing game, he was named MVP of the Pro Bowl last year. Bears fans know busts, and that isn't bust production.
Maybe he's weighing the contract against Marshall's brushes with the law. In that case it's a calculated risk and only time will tell.