Is Brandon Marshall A Fit In New England?
It’s become a very regular occurrence; an NFL veteran, who has attained a great deal of personal success, but never won a Super Bowl, signs with the New England Patriots late in his career, looking to finally become a champion. Chris Long is the most recent example of such a player, having signed with the Pats last off-season, en route to winning his first championship. Darrelle Revis, Brian Waters, Andre Carter and Fred Taylor are just a few more examples of championship-seeking veterans joining the Pats later in their careers. This off-season, Brandon Marshall could be the next such vet to chase his first ring in Foxborough. A union between Marshall and the Patriots makes sense for a variety of reasons.
First of all, its undeniable that the Patriots could benefit from Marshall’s skill set. The Patriots signed Michael Floyd late last season, hoping that he could add an element of physicality to their offense. As potent as the Pats’ offense may be, they lack an outside receiver who can out-muscle defenders and win jump balls, especially with Rob Gronkowski out of the lineup, as he so often is. At 6’4″ and 230 lbs., Marshall is exactly that kind of receiver.
Marshall will be playing the 2017 season at 33 years of age. For that reason, any financial commitment made to him this off-season will be relatively modest. Alshon Jeffery is the cream of the crop for free agent wide receivers, with Kenny Britt, DeSean Jackson, and Pierre Garcon among a group of wide outs who are likely to command hefty paydays. Marshall will not require the kind of financial commitment that any of the aforementioned receivers will. Assuming he can produce at a level closely-resembling his recent years’ work, Marshall, on a short-term deal, would represent a tremendous value. Perhaps nothing appeases Bill Belichick more than high production at a value price.
Marshall’s career has been marred by legal trouble. Allegations of domestic violence and Marshall’s admitted struggle with bipolar disorder could certainly be a cause for concern for any team considering adding Marshall to its roster. Additionally, Marshall has been known to be a derisive locker room presence at times during his career. For those reasons, New England would likely benefit from having Josh McDaniels on its coaching staff. Marshall played under McDaniels in 2009, when McDaniels was hired as the Denver Broncos head coach. Also, Brian Daboll (who recently departed the Pats for Alabama) worked with Marshall in Miami, where Daboll was previously the offensive coordinator. Having insight from McDaniels and Daboll could certainly soothe any concerns Belichick may have, and provide some comfort to all parties involved, including Marshall.
If Brandon Marshall is looking to end his career on a championship note, a marriage with the Patriots would provide him with an outstanding opportunity to achieve that goal. Assuming the team can overcome concerns about Marshall’s prior legal and locker room issues, his skill set and likely contractual demands would make for an ideal fit from a team perspective.