When the Chicago Bears traded Brandon Marshall to the New York Jets, numerous members of Chicago's media came forth with stories of Marshall's dysfunction inside Halas Hall. There weren't many media types that were surprised the Bears jettisoned Marshall after his tumultuous 2014 season.
There were a few well known instances like the twitter spat/near fight, the locker room blow up, the altercation with an assistant coach over proper practice attire, the weekly trips to New York, or the odd lengthy press conference he held against the team's wishes, but some of the Chicago beat reporters, radio hosts and columnists painted a overall negative picture about Marshall's 2014 season.
Could it just be a case of hindsight character assassination or was there more to it? During Marshall's first two years in Chicago he seemed to be a model employee, both on and off the field, but something obviously changed last year.
To be fair, the entire locker room seemed to lack something last year and Marshall was far from the only issue.
Which brings us to the latest report about the Brandon Marshall trade.
Kristain Dyer, who is a sports writer for Metro New York, cites a source that claims the Marshall trade was 100% about saving money and had nothing to do with any character/locker room issues.
"...it was money, pure money.
"The trade was contract driven, freeing up salary cap space. He was on a big contract here," the source tells Metro New York. "It had nothing to do with him being this locker room issue or this villain. In fact, there were no issues like that that drove him out of here. It was all about the cap hit."
Dyer claims his source is a member of Bears management.
"There wasn't an issue with what Brandon said last year. Not at all. Those things happen in an NFL locker room, the older guys speak up and let their voices be heard. Brandon has earned that right," the source said. "He's been a pro here. Again, it wasn't about the money, that's headlines and radio people talking and speculating. The trade with the Jets wasn't about that.
"To my knowledge he wasn't an issue here at all last year. I never heard a complaint. We had to move his contract for cap space and he had value."
The value that Marshall had was a 5th round draft pick that the Bears acquired from the Jets for Marshall and a 7th rounder. The money that the Bears saved was reported on by Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.
The Bears will save $7.7 million in cash if they trade or release Marshall. The team has roughly $27 million in cap space and shedding Marshall would create $3.95 million in cap savings although he would count $5.625 million in dead money.
Biggs also said, "A decision on Marshall will not be based on cap ramifications," and "If the Bears trade or cut Marshall, it likely will be with an eye toward improving chemistry."
Sources revealed that the Bears were putting the kibosh on allowing players to travel for TV or radio gigs, like what Marshall had going on with Inside The NFL on Showtime in New York City. This information came out before the Marshall trade was announced.
So are we to believe the New York writer and his sources or the Chicago writers and their sources?
I think the truth may lie somewhere in the middle.