Brandon Marshall had a bad 2014 season. It was his least productive season since his rookie year of 2006.
His bromance with Jay Cutler may be dead as well. Then there was the infamous locker room blow up in October following the Bears' loss to the Dolphins. Marshall also held a press conference to talk about his past with domestic violence and he spent every Tuesday of the season flying to New York to be on Showtime's Inside the NFL.
All these things are distractions. They are things most NFL teams don't want to have to put up with but they will put up with them if the player produces at a high level.
Last season Marshall was not performing at a very high level though. He played in 13 games and battled ankle injuries and had his season ended during the Thursday night game against the Dallas Cowboys, when he suffered a lung puncture and broken ribs.
He finished the year with 61 catches for 721 yards and eight touchdowns. The catches and yards were his lowest since his rookie year in Denver, and his TDs were his lowest since he was with the Dolphins in 2011. His 11.8 YPC was also the lowest since the '11 season.
This week there has been no shortage of stories suggesting Marshall could be cut. While there is a key date in his contract and there is a new regime, it seems strange to think the Bears would cut ties with their most skilled WR ever one year removed from a contract extension.
This is especially true when the potential cap savings amount to a paltry $3.95 million (Yes, the cash total is $7.7 million, but $5.625 million would be dead money). The Bears already have $22.5 million in space, 10th most in the league and plenty to work with, so why are there so many stories suggesting the Bears have a need to cut him?
Yes, the team needs a speed element at WR, the lack of speed is a huge reason for the struggles of the offense. Yes Marshall will be 31 next season but plenty of receivers have had good seasons at age 31 and older (Terrell Owens, Anquan Boldin, Reggie Wayne, just to name three).
The Bears had so many issues last season it seems harsh to kick Marshall to the curb when he's otherwise been a very good team save for one outburst and a couple iffy comments to the media. Many WRs have the diva label and Marshall is no different. His injuries last year played a part in his poor production and I think he's capable of having a bounce-back year.
Maybe the Bears should move on. Alshon Jeffery is capable of stepping up and the Bears will no doubt look to the draft or free agency to bring a speed element in at wide out. But why not keep Marshall? He isn't even among the 15 highest paid WRs and is there a lot of doubt that he is incapable of having a huge bounce-back in 2015?
If John Fox and Ryan Pace don't think they can work with him then sure, but Adam Gase was Marshall's position coach his last year in Denver so he should be a good authority on dealing with Marshall. Anything can happen and nothing would surprise me but there seems to be a bit too much speculation for me.
I hear the rumors and I understand them, I just think it's a little soon to be running such a good player out of town.