Should the Giants go after Brandon Marshall?
With the Giants still needing an outside receiver, the team should look to Brandon Marshall
After releasing arguably the best player in franchise history, the New York Jets continued their purge late Thursday night by releasing Brandon Marshall (according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter).
The Jets acquired Marshall in a trade with the Chicago Bears, prior to the 2015 season. After putting together the best year of his career in terms of yardage in 2015, Marshall — along with the rest of the Jets — sputtered in 2016, finishing the year with 788 yards and three touchdowns.
With Marshall now being a free agent, would it make sense for the New York Giants to reach out to their former cross-town rival?
The most obvious reason Marshall would fit with the Giants is because the team currently lacks a big receiver. The tallest receiver currently on the team who got snaps last year is Tavarres King at 6'1". Despite his height, King definitely doesn’t play like a big, physical receiver.
I think signing with the Giants would be the absolute PERFECT move for Marshall. I understand he’s still incredibly talented and dynamic, but his days of being a №1 receiver are over. That doesn’t mean he’s not talented, mind you. The fact that Marshall was able to manufacture 788 yards on a disgusting Jets offense last year is very impressive.
Marshall is still one of the better receivers in the league, but I don’t think he can be the premiere option for an offense.
The good news for him is that if he signed with the Giants, he wouldn’t have to be that first option. Instead, he would have the cushiest job in the NFL playing opposite Odell Beckham Jr. Let’s remember the fact that Rueben Randle once finished with close to 800 yards playing opposite OBJ.
While Victor Cruz struggled playing the outside receiver position last year in New York’s offense, Marshall would thrive. Despite his age (soon to be 33), Marshall is still a beast. He’s still 6–4, and he’s still a tremendous red-zone threat.
And while Marshall may be best known for his big-play ability, I love watching him work after the catch. He’s not going to fall down and be content. No, Marshall seeks contact, and is an absolute load to bring down at times. He’s ferocious on the field, and I truly respect that aspect of his game.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: imagine the Giants having a third down and five with Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard and Brandon Marshall at receiver and Shane Vereen as the running back? Furthermore, imagine Eli Manning having both Beckham and Marshall at his disposal in the red zone.
Perhaps NJ Advance Media’s Dan Duggan put it best when he described the possible Beckham-Marshall pairing as ‘deadly.’
However, while it would be the perfect move for Marshall, it may not be the prefect move for the Giants. Yes, Marshall would fill an immediate need for the team, as having that big presence on the outside next to Sterling Shepard and opposite Beckham would be tremendous. Despite the on-field positives, Marshall has had a troubled past, and could bring some chemistry issues.
Now, Marshall is nowhere near as bad as he was in Denver and Miami, and that much is obvious. He’s done a lot to raise awareness for mental health, and he was even named the Jets’ 2016 Walter Payton Man of the Year. But he still remains a large personality.
According to Rich Camini of ESPN, a halftime rant by Marshall last year may have ignited a feud with teammate Sheldon Richardson. The Giants already have one fiery, at-times detrimental personality in the locker room. I don’t know about you, but having two, especially when the personality’s are as strong and vibrant as Marshall’s and Beckham’s, may not bode well for the team.
And as a side note, Marshall also criticized the Giants organization for their handling of OBJ, claiming the team was ‘playing with fire.’ He also threw shade at the Giants’ receivers after the (too) publicized boat-trip fiasco. I really don’t think either of those would be the deciding factor in the Giants signing Marshall or not, but they’re worth noting.
Marshall would also be pricey, so that’s a big negative for the Giants, especially with Jason Pierre-Paul’s contract situation still to be determined. Cheaper options for an outside receiver exist, and they’ll likely come without the possible locker-room baggage Marshall carries.
The only way I think this happens is if Marshall is willing to take a modest deal of the one-year variety. That obviously may not happen, though. A team like say, the 49ers, who have a TON of cap space, may be willing to give Marshall a lucrative long-term deal.
I would really say the ball is in Marshall’s court at this point. If he wants a shot at winning and if he doesn’t want to move, then signing with the Giants would make a lot of sense for him. It would give him a chance to mentor some young receivers, and would allow him to play with a future Hall of Fame quarterback, which is something he’s never had the luxury of doing.
But if the price is right and the Giants truly are in a win-now mode, then I would be all for signing Marshall.
Talk Giants with Ryan on Twitter: @DisdierSports